RANDOLPH, NJ - At the final council meeting of the year, Planning/Zoning Administrator Darren Carney reported on the most recent updates to the Mount Freedom Master Plan. The plan has changed many times, starting in 1975, but development can begin with the road improvements and sewer extension now in place.
Carney detailed the various zoning limitations and changes that have been proposed throughout the planning process. Several lots with non-compliant uses will be re-zoned to be in compliance, and several zones will be changed to suit the current needs of Randolph.
“We’ll be working over the next year to create ordinances that reflect some of these recommendations,” said Township Manager Stephen Mountain. “So much of this plan is reliant on the landholders buying in on the vision.”
The planning study details the vision for Mount Freedom as “a village center with compatible small scale shops, stores, and services provided in a pleasant, safe and relaxing environment with tree lined streets and attractive civic spaces.”
The village center will also include various styles of housing for all ages and incomes, “linked by a well-defined walkway and open space system.”
Certain areas originally zoned for single-family residences will be rezoned as multi-family, specifically where the slope of the landscape would be difficult to develop as a single-family home.
“We also talk about cottage style housing, which are small residential units,” Carney said. “We're thinking of small units, not necessarily income-restricted, but to be more affordable for people starting out or people who want to retire in the area” but do not need a large home.
This “cottage style housing” would be 1 ½ story homes on small lots, encouraging front porches and rear garages.
For the overall development of the region, the township will provide an architectural style guide to ensure consistency throughout. Carney mentioned encouraging restaurants to provide outdoor eating areas and standardizing lighting styles in the village center.
The buildings in the area will be increased to three stories, Carney explained, to allow for two stories of residential use above a small shop. Additionally, if more than six residential units are proposed for rent, 15% will be available to low-income families. When more than six units are available for sale, a minimum of 20% must be affordable.
An important factor in the commercial zoning along Sussex Turnpike is parking behind the buildings “to the greatest extent possible,” according to the planning study, making the area convenient for all Randolph residents.