Government

Summit Planning Board Unanimously Endorses Fair Share Housing Ordinance Amended to Address Resident Objections Regarding DeForest Ave. 'Overlay Zone'

The designation of an affordable housing 'overlay zone' in the DeForest Avenue area drew neighborhood concerns. Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit

SUMMIT, NJ—The Summit Planning Board has endorsed an ordinance to comply with the City’s recent agreement on affordable housing, but that ordinance has been amended, apparently to assure that objections of residents of the area of 25 DeForest Avenue are overcome.

When the Planning Board decided to go along with the agreement on affordable housing between the City and the Fair Share Housing Center in January, one of the linchpins to that agreement with the creation of “overlay zones” -- eight areas of the City that could allow for affordable housing.

Joseph H. Burgis of Burgis Associates, the City’s planning contractor, said at the January meeting that creating an "overlay zone" -- placing it 'over' an existing zone -- would give a developer the option of doing something in a zone other that which currently was permitted in that zone.

Sign Up for E-News

It was indicated at that time that a developer would only be given this alternative option if development on a site was torn down.

However, the possible density of housing that could occur in one of the originally-proposed eight overlay zones -- zone surrounding 25 DeForest Avenue -- was opposed in January by residents of the area.

The residents argued that inclusion of the site, with possible high-density, multiple-family housing, would go against the City’s recently-adopted Master Plan, and a vote by the Planning Board late in 2016 against a proposed, multiple-family development on the 25 DeForest Avenue site.

That conceptual plan, by developer Mark Yeager, would have expanded the Gateway I Zone to the site of the Bouras Building at 25 DeForest Avenue and, in the process, made way for a combination four-level parking garage and townhouse complex, near the Bouras Building, at Beechwood Road and Euclid Avenue.

Following its endorsement of the Fair Share Housing Agreement, the Planning Board appointed a subcommittee to review its options.

Going along with recommendations of that subcommittee, the Board voted at its March meeting to reduce the number of proposed overlay zones from eight to seven. This would mean the combination of overlay zones on the current Salerno-Duane property on Broad Street and Park Avenue and a 4.2-acre tract on Park Avenue that currently is the site of a hardware store.

It also decided to incorporate the zoning changes that would go along with the Fair Share Housing Agreement into the City zoning ordinance.

However, and perhaps of most interest to the residents of the area surrounding 25 DeForest Avenue, the planning body endorsed adoption of design standards targeting the overlay zones that would take into account historical development and massing in an area.

Among other goals, it also would encourage multi-story development and the inclusion of a substantial amount of glass on retail space to be included in any development to give pedestrians a better view inside stores. 

Planning board chairman William Anderson, a member of the subcommittee, said it was his understanding that the subcommittee wanted to satisfy the concerns of the DeForest Avenue residents while taking into account the rest of the City.

City assistant engineer and subcommittee member Rick Matias added, however, that it was his understanding that the design standards were meant to encourage developers to follow certain guidelines without making the guidelines into requirements.

However, fellow subcommittee member Jennifer Balson-Alvarez said she understood the standards to be more obligatory, in order to give potential developers a better idea what to expect when they came before the planning board for approval of a project.

Anderson replied that he believed the provisions were aimed at trying to strike a balance between preserving neighborhoods and opening up the planning body to potential litigation.

Burgis said the Board did not want to make affordable housing development “cost generative,” rather to create the ability for cost-effective, affordable homes.

He added that the Board should retain the specificity of the guidelines, yet encourage affordable housing development without having the design parameters impede this development.

The proposed ordinance is expected to go before the Summit Common Council for introduction on April 4, with the Council returning it to the Planning Board with its suggestions and comments, and possible subsequent adoption by the Council at its first meeting in May.

Burgis said the ordinance would have to come back to the Planning Board after its Council introduction so that the planners could determine if it was consistent with the newly-revised Master Plan.

In response to a question from Planning Board counsel Clifford Gibbons, the City planner said the proposed overlay zone design standards were meant to augment -- rather than supersede -- existing City design standards.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Mike Wattick - A Record of Service and Success

September 22, 2017

Mike Wattick is the clear choice for Common Council in Ward 2 and I enthusiastically endorse him.

Mike has proven his worthiness to serve us over many years of volunteerism as well as success in the private sector. Mike has served the youth of Summit through coaching. He has rolled up his sleeves for the Red Cross, not only to raise money but on the 'front lines' helping out during ...

Questioning a $300,000 City Expenditure Not a 'Political Ploy'

Summit Common Council’s decision to borrow and then spend $300,000 for “stamped decorative concrete” (aka cobblestones) in the downtown was not supported by the downtown businesses, and the Democratic candidates for Council released a video criticizing this project as a waste of taxpayer’s money.

Council President McTernan responded with a letter calling this a ...

Dietze: Cut Taxes/Red Tape And Boost Parking for an Even Better Downtown

September 21, 2017

Summit is proud of its downtown, but wants greater vibrancy and liveliness.

Operating a small business downtown for nearly 25 years gives me unique insights on our downtown and vested interest in its success.

Our downtown faces challenges, especially from the Internet.  To compete against the Internet is not realistic; our real competition is the other area downtowns.  The key ...

We Can Do Better

With only seven weeks left until the November election, we have unfortunately seen an increase in negative campaigning and personal attacks, mostly occurring through the press and social media. 

This needs to stop. 

While there are clear policy and background differences between each candidate, one day soon this election will be over. At that point, we will still see each other on ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_27ffa21d2f7b2b5adcdd_2deab8b3acea97fddccf_photo_20100609_ymca_18_0041_hr

Sat, September 23

Berkeley Heights

Art from Around the World

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_c53d436c5624b37ec5a1_c2aa95519861738af4c8_14191968_1100129233407036_8094981720926434258_n

Sat, September 23, 7:00 AM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Speak 4 Silent Voices Collection Drive

Giving Back

Carousel_image_fadcf9995e3663772b75_6ccf599cac423df7b8d2_latindance

Sat, September 23, 10:00 AM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Parranda! A Latin Dance Party with Zulma

Health & Wellness

Summit Fire Department Blotter

May 1, 2017 at 1107 hrs. FD was dispatched to a motor vehicle accident in the area of 732 SPRINGFIELD AVENUE, car into a tree.  On arrival found a single vehicle accident into a tree and the driver was out of the vehicle. Summit EMS handled patient care.  FD secured the battery in the vehicle and applied absorbent material to an oil leak under the vehicle. FD personnel remained on ...

Summit Police Blotter

September 18, 2017

09/05 - Shaki R. Clemons, 20, of Newark was arrested for three contempt of court warrants (Secaucus and East Rutherford). Mr. Shaki was transported to Summit Police Headquarters where custody was turned over to Secaucus Police Department.

09/07 - Jalilah H. Muhammad, 36, of Newark was arrested for a contempt of court warrant out of Newark. Ms. Muhammad was able to post bail and was released ...

Just Two Luxury Condominium Rental Units Available at The Promenade

September 22, 2017

The Promenade at Summit, the featuring luxury condominium rentals in the heart of the Hilltop City, has but two units open. The community features 2-bedroom, 2-bath condominium residences that offer spacious floor plans ranging from 1,230 – 1,604 sq. ft of living space, with each including an dynamic set of amenities, including

Designer gourmet ...

Free Area Cultural Advocacy Workshop Held Sept. 25

ELIZABETH, NJ - A  free workshop on cultural advocacy will take place September 25, from 7 -  8:30 p.m.,  at the Liberty Hall Wagon Shed Building. Designed for arts, cultural and history organizations, the workshop will impart how advocacy can support an organization, the community and cultural life in general.

Adam Perle, the President and CEO of ArtPride ...

Tax Reform and Tax Expenditures

Very quietly, members of the President’s economic team have been meeting with key lawmakers to craft a tax reform plan. The stated goal is to pass legislation by year end.  That is an optimistic timetable, but the outlines of a concrete revision may emerge before then. Any Tax Code revision requires Congress to deal with tax expenditures. Tax expenditures are deductions, exclusions, ...

Ain't That Grand?

Leave Ordinary Meeting Locales Behind and Take Advantage of Special Fall Events Rates

As more and more hotels begin to look and feel as if they’re mirror images of each other, The Grand Summit Hotel’s corporate clientele enjoys the intimacy that a classic hotel from another time creates.

The Grand Summit Hotel has hosted meetings, events and guests alike while steps from the vibrant Summit downtown for more than 100 years. Every staff member at the ...

The Floor Plan

Eliminate Your 'Pet Peeves' of Decorating with These Helpful Hints

You justly love your dog or cat and, if you love pets that much, maybe it's even your dog and cat.

What you don't love are some of the shall we say more challenging aspects of pet ownership as it relates to your living space, specifically the effects a pet can have on the wear and tear of the abode you decorated with the same levels of devotion and adoration you bestow on ...

Are you Ready for your 30s?

Welcome to your 30s!  No matter what your family and living situation, it’s time to think about protecting assets and planning for the future. Whether you are single with a rental apartment, living with a partner, or have a spouse, children and a home, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure the future security of your immediate family.

Here are the basic documents you ...

DOTM: Go Out of Your Gourd for This Immune System Strengthener

Smoothie King Summit "Drink of the Month" - NEW IMMUNE BUILDER PUMPKIN SPICE

Your favorite flavor is back, and better for you! Support your immune system with new Immune Builder Pumpkin Spice Smoothies, made with organic pumpkin, carrots and super grains. With more than 300% of your daily vitamin C, plus iron and calcium, you’re all set to stand firm through fall.

JCP&L Provide Support Across the Companies Service Area

JCP&L linemen and support personnel are among a large group of linemen, damage accessors, electrical contractors, forestry crews and support personnel from FirstEnergy Corp. utilities  that have mobilized to help utilities in Florida with restoration efforts as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Give Me Some Credit

I used to think I was special.  

 

But it turns out I am not.  I am just one measly name in 143 million.  

 

You see, that’s the number of lucky Americans who had their personal data purloined in a massive data breach at Equifax, the credit reporting agency.  At least I am not alone.

 

I checked the special Equifax website the other day ...