NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ  - At last week's borough council meeting, the council heard the first reading of Ordinance 2019-06 to amend and supplement certain sections of the zoning code to accommodate the requirements of the Affordable Housing settlement within the borough.

At the June 10 council meeting, Planner Susan Gruel of Heyer, Gruel & Associates provided an overview of the upcoming zoning ordinance changes.

Councilman Michael Gennaro explained at the June 24 meeting, “What we are doing here is creating four new zones."

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The A4 Affordable Housing Zone is a new zone which permits townhouses and multi-family dwellings. There are setbacks, coverage and design standards included in the proposed ordinance. "AH-ARO Zone which is an Affordable Housing Age-restricted Zone -- this is an overlay,” said Gennaro. The proposed Overlay Zone includes the existing zoning requirements and the added regulations permitting the area to be developed for residential housing.

The Linde site will be rezoned to include PACO (Planned Adult Community) Overlay. The Linde property will be zoned to accommodate a 297-unit adult community. The adjacent property will be zoned for a continuing care retirement community. “This lot adjacent to the planned adult community is currently owned by Linde,” said Gennaro.  “There is no guarantee that the site will be used for that use [continuing care retirement community], and there is no guarantee that if it is, that Erickson will be the user. But in any event, this is another settlement agreement we entered into with Linde where we are changing this to an Overlay Zone that will permit continuing care retirement communities construction.”

He added, “The number of units on this zone will range from a low of 418 to a maximum of 540 independent living units and 180 healthcare units,” said Gennaro. “The reason there is a difference in number is that the owner of the site can choose to go with the higher number but would have to pay into our Affordable Housing fund a certain amount of money depending on how many units they select to construct. That money would sit in our fund and be allowed by us to be used to meet Affordable Housing obligations,” said Gennaro. 

Essentially these new zones are to accommodate the requirements of the Affordable Housing settlement. Gennaro explained, from here, these zoning ordinances will go to the Planning Board. “Assuming they come back intact to us, on July 15th, we will have a public hearing here at the council meeting. Assuming everyone is still in agreement, [we will] take a vote on passing these ordinances.”

“This is a necessary step to effectuate the settlement we entered into concerning our Affordable Housing agreements requires us to do this,” said Gennaro.

As previously reported in TAPinto.net, New Providence reached an Affordable Housing settlement agreement in February 2019 that potentially adds 1209 residential units of which 316 have to be assigned to low and moderate income households. The majority of the units will be market priced. Of the affordable housing units 13 percent must be very low income housing units and 50 percent must be low or moderate income housing units. Gennaro noted that this will not be a one time action, but the courts want to see that these actual plans are implemented.

The 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.