NUTLEY, NJ - Professional licensed planner Paul Ricci gave a detailed report on the changes and clarification of the Ordinance No. 3414, for mixed used and density during the Feb. 19 Board of Commissioners public meeting.
The Board asked Ricci, who also represents the planning and zoning boards, to help codify the ordinance with suggestions from Topology and Nutley’s Code Enforcement official Dave Berry. Ricci was in charge of cleaning up the ordinance and applying density where residential permitted mixed use in the down town.
A new definition for mixed use is provided in the ordinance. Regulations include the height of the building, the setbacks of the building and including how much of the building could cover the lot. According to Ricci, the mixed use section was in conflict with other sections of the ordinance and he took away those points of conflict so the zoning officer has clear direction of the board on how the ordinance should be applied.
The ordinance revises some of the townships definitions relating to regulations specifically use regulations and largely what’s occurring on the use level. “It was written in a manner to be ultra-clear where things are permitted and where they are not; the types of land uses and where they can be permitted …cleaning up the ordinance,” he said.
The ordinance indicates where mixed use buildings are permitted and the areas where mixed use building without residential space are permitted.
“B3 zone is 24 units per an acre and B1 and B2 zones are 17.42 units per an acre. Each 2,500 square feet allows for one residential apartment on the upper floor,” he said.
Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco pointed out that people could still apply for a variance for 28 units per an acre and that would have to be voted on.
Ricci said in all mixed use buildings, 30 percent has to be retail or office or actually a true mixed use. Bedroom sizes have to be 925 square feet for one-bedroom and 1,175 square feet for two-bedroom. Any room over 69 square feet will be considered a bedroom. “Some developers will create room spaces and call them a den but there will be a closet etc. which is not really a den, getting cute and getting an extra bedroom as part of the unit,” he said.
According to Ricci, parking is a big issue, for someone to provide sufficient parking for commercial/residential.
Garden apartments are not permitted except where they already exist in the R3 and the N1 zones. Any apartments that are to be built are in the downtown area.
The mayor said if the ordinance needs to be amended further they would.
Public Comment/Public Hearing
Nutley resident Tammy Rossi, who was recently appointed to serve as an alternate on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, asked if the ordinance might allow condominiums instead of apartments. She believes it would benefit the town by keeping residents and not people transitioning.
Ricci said the difference between condominiums and apartments is a form of ownership. According to Ricci, by law the township cannot require condos verses rentals. He also said within the last two years there haven’t been any condominium projects because the banks made it difficult for lending for them statewide.
Petracco said the ordinance has percentages of one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms etc. and he asked if that was all due to COAH (Council on Affordable Housing). He also wanted to specify that the township cannot enforce one-bedrooms only.
Ricci explained that COAH was a state mandate the township has to adhere to. At least 20 percent of the affordable units have to be three-bedroom, no more than 20 percent can be one-bedroom and the rest are two-bedroom.
Amy Celento of Nutley asked about for feedback from the commissioners on Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci’s white paper study in regards to the mixed use and density ordinance.
Tucci said, “It’s not so much the obvious things that we thought would be impacted by multi-family housing... impacts [were] of the additional service calls, the additional policies and procedures we have to put in place to deal with more people. …The toll of multi-family housing is much more than just student population.”
According to Tucci student population actually went down in Nutley and once the township receives the 2018 demographers report, it will be compared to his white paper study. Due to the white paper study the ordinance was reduced from 28 units per an acre to 24 units.
The commissioners first voted to amend the ordinance from 28 units to 24 units then unanimously passed the ordinance.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5.
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