FAIRFIELD, NJ — The Fairfield Township Council passed two ordinances on Monday that will affect zoning in the township.

The first ordinance establishes an overlay zone on the westerly side of Fairfield Road between Horseneck Road and Kulick Road within the Route 46 special highway district. This area is located directly across the street from a section of Fairfield Road that was recently rezoned to permit a Mix-Use Overlay, MUO-1 Zone.

According to the council, the purpose of this ordinance is to provide similar zoning on each side of Fairfield Road and reinforce the development pattern wanted by the township as recommended by the township’s master plan.

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The ordinance explains that because the demographic character of Fairfield is changing—due to the fact that the township’s population is aging, while at the same time younger people are looking for places to live that are more “pedestrian friendly”—the township is looking to form a centralized business district that will have a “variety of retail and service commercial uses which reinforce a strong sense of place.”

The idea is that young adults may reside in attached residential developments as one stage in the home-buying cycle. The ordinance will allow ground-level retail with residential development above.

The ordinance also explains that the township has experienced a “significant increase in loss of ratables that has had an impact on the local budgetary process which requires that the township consider a planning response to address the adaptive reuse of underutilized properties.”

The plans of this ordinance will not adversely impact residential districts and established businesses, according to the council.

The second ordinance passed on Monday deals with two zoning overlays. One is from the Gallo Complex on Fairfield Road to Passaic Avenue and on the other side of Fairfield Road from the gas station to Passaic Avenue. Those properties will allow mixed use, while Fairfield Court will have an overlay that will allow multifamily housing.

All properties rezoned at the meeting will be required a minimum of two acres to be developed.

Councilman Thomas Morgan inquired about the property next to the municipal building, which he thought could be used by the township should there be a need to expand municipal building. With the new zoning, Morgan was concerned that this would not be possible.

Township Administrator Joseph Catenaro explained that this property did not have the two-acre requirement for new building, so the land was protected from other use.

Mayor James Gasparini stressed that this ordinance specifies that “vehicular access to the zoned area shall not be permitted from Carlos Drive or Glen Avenue, and a suitable buffer shall be placed around the overlay zoned area.”

This protects established residential properties from being negatively affected, he said.

In other news, Caternaro also announced on Monday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently informed the township that any new home that is sold in the township must have an elevation certificate in order for residents who live in the flood plain to receive a 20-percent discount on their flood insurance. Click HERE to read the story.