SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — A bond ordinance, 2020-07, providing for appropriation of $1.5 million toward the purchase of 45 West Third Street was passed on first reading by the South Orange Board of Trustees on Feb. 24. The Village wants to then build low income housing there and on the lot next door, 41 West Third Street, which is already owned by the town.

A coordinating ordinance, 2020-073, will come up at the next BOT meeting. Mayor Sheena Collum took time to explain it in advance. That ordinance directs the planning board to prepare “an expedited redevelopment proposal for the village,” she said. 

 “We currently have a partnership with Bergen County United Way, a non-profit developer, and also the JESPY House. We are hoping to apply for low income housing tax credits from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency by a deadline of July 22.” If received, Collum said, the credits “would fund close to 70 percent of the total project costs, along with the land that the village is contributing.”

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Collum offered that South Orange is “expediting — very much so — a process that typically we spend a lot of time discussing with folks. So you can expect that given the upside potential of receiving these tax credits the board has made it a priority, and agreed to move this through the process as quickly as possible [while] obviously applying a lot of delicate care from the planning side, the zoning side, and also working with the Planning Board on this.”

Describing the project, which will replace two residential buildings on Third Street, Collum said, “We are looking at a four-plus story building. We are trying to minimize the massing; the density is going to be high for the district, in fact it will be close to 83 dwelling units per acre,” higher than the usual 40-plus units per acre for the neighborhood. “We are trying to maximize the number of affordable housing units we are providing for our community in compliance” with the state’s Fair Share plan.

Collum said that the setback, the height, and lot coverage would be addressed with a redevelopment plan. “All those things are being worked on right now.” Updates will be posted on the South Orange Village website, she said.

A public hearing on the bond ordinance will be held during the March 9 BOT meeting.


Correction: The article originally stated that 2020-073 passed in the consent agenda. That was incorrect. It was pulled from the consent agenda and will be brought up March 9.