CEDAR GROVE, NJ - A public hearing will be held on Monday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall to discuss two pending ordinances that will address multi-family housing in Cedar Grove, as well as the township’s currently unmet affordable housing obligations.  

“While the thought of any further development in Cedar Grove is daunting, the State of New Jersey has imposed requirements on the Township that must be met,” said Mayor Joseph Cicala.  “If we cannot meet those requirements voluntarily and responsibly, the development will be forced upon us, without regard for location and without the safeguard of responsible planning.”

Pending Ordinance #18-829 would establish inclusionary development zoning for multi-family housing to address municipal affordable housing obligations with development proposed on  Cliffside Drive. Whereas Pending Ord. #18-830 would establish overlay inclusionary zoning standards for townhouses and multi-family housing to address the township’s affordable housing obligations impacting the area of Commerce Road.

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The hearing will allow residents to voice their concerns, while also hearing from experts on the law behind the pending ordinances and the potential impact to the town.  Present at the meeting will be Special Court Master Betsy McKenzie, appointed by Essex County Superior Court Judge Robert H. Gardner to oversee the current litigation in which the Fair Share Housing Center has filed suit against Cedar Grove (and most other municipalities in New Jersey), to establish the Township’s affordable housing obligation and to ensure compliance with same.  In addition, residents will have an opportunity to hear from the Township attorney, COAH Counsel and Planner.

“I am looking forward to this hearing so that the voices of our residents can be heard.  We know they are powerful and important,” Cicala stated. “Myself and fellow council members have all expressed concern regarding potential development and how it will impact our community.  It is now time for this panel of professionals to hear from the residents of Cedar Grove. I am eager to have all questions answered and to correct and clarify any inaccurate information that may be circulating. False information is detrimental to our community.”

Cicala referenced a petition that was recently submitted to the township clerk seeking to establish a fund to purchase all of the remaining open space in Cedar Grove.  In a memo to the Governing Body, Township Manager Tom Tucci stated the following: “While we all desire more open space and acquisition seems the most logical and simplistic option, Cedar Grove would still have its obligation to meet the Council on Affordable Housing Criteria set out by the courts, if it were to acquire all open space.  This will subject the township to builders remedy lawsuits and allow for development, as directed by the courts, without township input. In a worst case Cedar Grove taxpayers could be left with a large debt service over 20 years and still incur unwelcomed development.”

“Acquisition and preservation of open space is a priority of the Governing Body and one of the most important issues that affect our town,” said Cicala.  “ With the recent acquisition from the City of Newark of the 53 acre tract of land across from the reservoir we have dedicated ourselves to preserving open space in a responsible manner, that will cost the average taxpayer very little, or nothing at all, while not affecting our affordable housing obligations.”

Cicala encouraged all residents to attend Monday’s meeting and ask questions.  The meeting will also be televised live on FIOS Channel 28/Optimum Channel 78 and will be available shortly after the meeting on the Cedar Grove Township You Tube Channel.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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