NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – An ordinance that amends zoning regulations to accommodate the borough’s affordable housing settlement has been passed by the borough council.

The council approved Ordinance 2019-06 at their September 9 meeting, following a first reading of the ordinance in June. Mayor Al Morgan explained that the ordinance would add an overlay over certain sections of the borough, allowing developers to build residential units in these sections.

“The overlay is in the industrial area, over Central [Avenue], Spring Street, and Floral [Avenue],” Morgan said. “We did that instead of putting an overlay over the entire town. That way, neighborhoods wouldn’t get inundated with affordable housing and a bunch of units.”

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“There’s a lot of properties where developers could buy like four and five pieces of property, and put these kinds of units in the middle of neighborhoods. And we didn’t want that,” he added. “We tried to control it the best way we could.”

Morgan said the area of Central Avenue, Spring Street, and Floral Avenue was chosen due to its capacity to handle high-density traffic.

The borough’s affordable housing settlement, approved by the Borough Council in February, identifies four properties where affordable housing units can be built. Morgan said only one of these, the C.R. Bard property, is currently in the development process.

“We’ve called all the landlords [and] owners of all the properties,” Morgan said. “The only one that’s in play right now is C.R. Bard.”

Morgan added that C.R. Bard may be in discussions to sell the property, but that he is unsure who else is taking part in these discussions. “I don’t know if [it’s] a developer, or another company, I don’t know,” he said.

Council President Michael Gennaro said the properties identified in the settlement are currently zoned as commercial properties. Gennaro explained that the densities and building heights of the potential residential units may vary depending on the property.

“There are multiple parcels of land that have been designed,” Gennaro said. “They’re all mostly existing commercial properties. They’re office buildings [and] warehouses.”

“The densities vary depending on what properties,” Gennaro said. He said they could range between 11 and 17 units per acre, which is “higher than typical residential zoning.”

Gennaro also said the height of the building “varies depending on the parcel.”

Morgan explained during the meeting that, although the settlement calls for only 316 affordable housing units, a total of approximately 1,200 residential units would be built as a result of the settlement.

“As you know, the state has mandated affordable housing to almost every municipality in the state,” Morgan said, adding that New Providence’s settlement calls for 316 affordable housing units. “To get 316, the builders [and] developers have to have market value units to subsidize the affordable housing units, which could come up to 1,200.”

As previously reported, the approved Affordable Housing settlement includes the following properties: 

  • The borough has identified the property at 100 Mountain Avenue for age restricted housing. [297-unit adult community, a total of 59 units will be designated as low or moderate income units.] 
  • The property at 575 Mountain Ave, adjacent to Lantern Hill, will be rezoned for continued care housing with a density of 17 units/acre, with an option to increase the density to 24 units/acre provided that $3,000 per extra unit be provided to the borough’s affordable housing fund.
  • The C.R. Bard property will be zoned for affordable housing with 192 total units of which 20 percent will be affordable.
  • Other locations between Central Avenue and the Salt Brook and Murray Hill Train Station will be rezoned so as to accommodate additional residential housing. 
  • In total the borough will add 1209 residential units.