WAYNE, NJ – Wednesday night, the Township held a public information session on Wayne’s affordable housing obligation.  With approximately 2,951 new residential units set to be built at seven new developments in Wayne, residents wanted to know how this would impact the school system. 

Here is the breakdown of the seven proposed developments

  • AvalonBay on Valley Road Extension – 473 total units with 71 set aside as affordable
  • Preakness Shopping Center off of Alps Road, north of Hamburg Turnpike – 244 units with 37 set aside as affordable.
  • WayneBridge Plaza on Hamburg Tpk – 98 units with 15 affordable
  • Rockledge on Hamburg Tpk - 105 units with 21 affordable
  • GAF off of Alps Rd – 449 units with 90 affordable
  • Galreh on Route 23 at Black Oak Ridge Rd – 232 units with 24 affordable
  • Toys R Us on Geoffrey Way – 1,350 units with 270 affordable (approximately)
  • Total of 2,951 units with 528 set aside as affordable.

“We want everyone to know that the Township is concerned about the impacts of any developments on the Wayne public schools,” said Caroline Reiter, a consulting planner hired by the Township. “However, please note that this concern cannot be used to justify limiting or not approving residential development as part of the Mount Laurel or affordable housing.”

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Reiter explained that there was “little or no information” on the number of one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom units that will be built in the market rate units in these new developments.

“So, we made estimations,” she said. “And where we could, we were as conservative as we so as we possibly could be.”

The planning consultant talked about two formulas known as “multipliers” that were used to come up with their estimation.  The first came from the Center for Urban Policy Research, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The study was called “Who Lives in New Jersey Housing?”

The Second was called: “School-Age Children in Rental Units in New Jersey: Results from a Survey of Developers and Property Managers.”

Both of these formulas were applied to each development and the results were basically the same.  Wayne Township Planner, Chris Kok provided these examples:

  • Avalon Bay – 473 units – Bloustein predicted 138 school-age children, while the Rental Unit Survey predicted 141 school age children. 
  • Preakness Mall – 244 units – Bloustein = 51 school-age children, the Rental Unit Survey also came up with 51 school-age children.
  • Galreh and Waynebridge were 44/43 and 20/20 respectively.

In total, Reiter announced: “With the multipliers that we have available to us, we believe that the total projected or estimated number of school age children resulting from those developments would be less than 1,000.”

Reiter then pointed out that there would be a number of school-age children that will eventually move to Wayne but may not all attend the public schools.

“There is probably a percentage that attends private schools or are homeschooled or have some other mechanism of schooling,” said Reiter. “So the numbers presented are a potential number of school-age children but not necessarily all of that entire population would necessarily attend your public schools.”

Mayor Chris Vergano also made it clear that these children would not all be coming to Wayne at once.

“The 3,000 units that are being proposed are not going to be built overnight,” he explained. “It’ll take years, and some will be built in phases.”

The Whitehall Demographic Study commissioned by the Wayne Board of Education five years ago was brought up to show that the Wayne public schools would likely be able to handle the increase in student population. This study showed an almost 500 student decrease in student population between 2013 and 2018.

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Any decisions regarding the schools won't be made by this committee, or the Township Administration.

“We leave that in the good hands of the Board of Education to decide how they will proceed,” said the Mayor. “We've been providing them with additional numbers, and we actually have the shared services committee meeting coming up in a couple of weeks when we'll be talking about this matter again.”