NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council approved a zoning ordinance amendment to require electric vehicle charging stations to be included in the new multi-family building constructions at its Monday, June 22 Zoom meeting. The council also introduced an ordinance to allow the purchase of land for passive recreation use.

The zoning ordinance amendment mandates that new multi-family buildings of five or more units have to add 10 percent of required parking spots dedicated to plug-in charging of electric or hybrid vehicles. The ordinance affects only new construction going forward. The ordinance is modeled according to similar ordinances in other New Jersey towns.

The purpose of the ordinance is to encourage the use of electric vehicles and reduce air pollutions, greenhouse gas emissions as well as storm water runoff contamination.

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Borough resident Allen Swanson expressed his support for the ordinance and touted the savings his own hybrid vehicle has provided.

After discussing the sales price of a property, the council approved the ordinance authorizing the purchase of the lot at 136 South Street to be added to the Veterans Memorial Park for passive recreation. Councilman Peter DeSarno pointed out that the sale price appears to be 20 percent higher than previously discussed. He asked if the price reflects the fair market value. He noted that the purchase of the parcel “would make strategic sense.” He explained that his understanding is that the borough Tax Assessor Bryan Flynn has weighed in regarding the market value of the property. He also said that there appears to be additional costs to the seller that has affected the price.

According to Mayor Al Morgan Flynn had stated that the sales price is “well within” the market value of the property. He noted that the seller has an option to construct a building on the lot and if exercised “then we would lose that property for good.” He added that the property will be “a great addition” to the borough’s recreational facilities.

Council President Robert Robinson agreed with Morgan. “This is the third piece of property that we have purchased in the last 15 years,” expanding Veterans Park. “This is the final piece of the puzzle that brings it to the corner of First Street. I think it is a fair price,” he said. He noted that this purchase price is “probably in balance” with the two previous land acquisitions.  He pointed out that the corner of South Street and First Street is the gateway to the borough’s downtown area. He warned that for example a parking lot on that corner would negatively affect the aesthetics of the downtown area. He explained that he agrees with DeSarno that the price for the property is significant, but is satisfied with Flynn’s assessment of the property’s market value. It is well worth it, he said.

Borough Administrator Doug Marvin noted that there were legal and engineering fees associated with the subdivision of the lot to accommodate the purchase of the property. The other half of the property will also require some DEP approvals which has impacted the price of the property.

Marvin explained that the borough paid $300,000 for the first property added to the park. The next property that contained two houses cost the borough over $600,000. With the last piece of property to be purchased the borough is looking to add approximately two acres to the park. Compared to the previous properties the price of $180,000 appears to be fair and reasonable, he said. The purchase of this land also fits into the borough’s open space plan, he added.

The second reading and public hearing of the ordinance will take place at a later meeting.