BEDMINSTER, NJ — After a court order had mandated that the township rezone land for additional affordable housing, Bedminster has made Pluckemin Village the focus of its obligations.

Township planner Frank Banisch said at the township's virtual Land Use meeting on Sept. 3 that Bedminster has "already done more than many of the other towns that have been involved in this stuff."

Bedminster committed in its affordable housing plan settlement with Cherry Hill-based Fair Share Housing Center to provide 28 family rental affordable units and to zone for them by June 30, 2021, "or by arranging to build them and find financing for them ourselves," Banisch said.

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"We found ourselves in a position where the Elite Properties application offered us the first five of those (28) units," he said. "We should think, 'What's our vision for what we should create here?' How can the traffic impacts and other impacts be managed, modified, modulated, what improvements can be made that make it better than it is now because we all know we have a problem there now?"

Banisch said of the roads in the area, "If all we do is add more traffic into that problem, that's not good. But we're also going to be in a discussion ultimately with a developer where we're going to ask them to do ... road improvements, (including) asking the DOT to change the timing of the signal. We're going to be hoping that they're going to pay all the costs associated with making these improvements."

Banisch added that although Bedminster is ahead of some other municipalities in moving forward with its affordable housing obligations, "nonetheless we're still going to have another family rental obligation that comes up next time, in 2025. If you plan ahead now and if developers do it for you, you're ahead of the curve instead of behind the curve."

The planner eyed the goal of zoning for the rental units by next June optimistically.

"I like the fact that we're ahead of the curve, so by next June we can have all this buttoned up," he said. "(Let's) flesh it out over next couple of months (to) where we are all very comfortable that that would make Pluckemin a better place."