Franklin Lakes December 16, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 9 Board approves new Colonial Road housing plan by Frank J. McMahon The Franklin Lakes Planning board has approved the amended site plan for the 14acre affordable housing site on Colonial Road which includes changes to the site and the units in the two buildings. The two-building site plan was originally approved by the board in December 2003 under the duress of a court endorsed settlement of an affordable housing “builder’s remedy” lawsuit filed by University Heights, the developer of the Old Mill Road affordable housing complex. The suit was joined by Colonial Road Associates, the original developer of the site. Kara Homes later purchased the property, but went bankrupt. The site is now owned by the Amboy Bank, and GS Realty Corporation is its subsidiary. The amended plan will allow GS Realty to market the age-restricted housing units that were previously approved for the site, as non-age restricted units in accordance with legislation enacted by the state in July. Stephen Sinisi, the attorney for GS Realty, provided testimony from consultant Stephen Patron regarding the provisions of the new legislation, which allows the conversion of the development to a non-age restricted use; Thomas Barton, an architect who prepared plans for the project; Richard Moralle, the engineer who prepared the original and the amended site plans; Lee Klein, a traffic engineer; and Michael D. Kauker, a professional planner. As part of their testimony, the board was advised that one of the buildings will be shortened by 25 percent and on-grade parking will be provided in the area previously occupied by that part of the building. There will now be 87 units (instead of 84), which will be comprised of 69 market rate units, a reduction of three, and 18 affordable housing units, an increase of six. The number of bedrooms will increase from 152 to 167, which will include 130 market rate bedrooms and 37 affordable housing bedrooms. The recreational amenities will be decreased overall with the square footage for these amenities reduced in one of the buildings and increased in the other. Moralle testified that the amended plan meets the seven criteria imposed on the applicant by the new legislation. He explained that a variance would be required to reduce the setback to the property line behind the smaller building in order to provide more space for entering the underground garage. But at the suggestion of Board Chairman Frank Conte, Moralle agreed to reinstate the original setback to eliminate the need for that variance. Klein testified that the traffic impact from the site, which he described as slight, would be addressed by asking Bergen County to add a few seconds to the traffic light at the intersection of Colonial Road and Franklin Avenue. Kauker told the board the amended site plan posed no substantial detriment to the public good or the intent of the borough’s master plan. There was no public comment on the amended plan, but board member Julius Lauber voiced an objection to the revised plan which places all the affordable housing units in one building. It was pointed out that the new law gives the developer the choice to do so, but Lauber said he did not like the Abbey Carpet & Floor of Hawthorne America’s choice in floor fashions since 1958 Big Savings On Area Rugs, Remnants, Runners, Hardwood, Carpet and Laminate! Storewide Flooring Sale! Anniversary HOLIDAY HOURS CHRISTMAS EVE: 9-1 CHRISTMAS DAY: CLOSED DECEMBER 26: 10-5 NEW YEAR’S EVE: 9-1 NEW YEAR’S DAY: CLOSED JANUARY 2: 10-5 50 choice the developer has made. Lauber ultimately voted to approve the new plan along with four other board members after the board defeated a motion by planner Joseph Pullaro to delay the vote until the next meeting. Pullaro abstained from the final vote on the amended plan. The legislation that allowed this conversion cites the fact that the cost of both renting and home ownership remains unaffordable to a large percentage of New Jersey residents, including those who make vital contributions to their communities, such as teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters, and the general workforce, even while the cost of housing in New Jersey has declined under current economic conditions. The legislation further states that the shortage of affordably priced workforce housing has been made worse in recent years by an oversupply of age-restricted housing approvals and an inability among the majority of New Jersey’s workforce to live near their jobs. It also points out that although the maximum municipal percentage of affordable fair share housing which may be met by age-restricted units in a municipality has been reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent under the recently adopted rules of the Council on Affordable Housing, the legislation is needed to permit an age-restricted development to change to a converted development to meet this rule and to meet demographic needs. th ������������������������������������ ��������������� ��������������� ������������ ���������������� ����������������� �������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� ��������������������������� ���������������������������������������� ����������������������� ����������������������������������������� ������������������������� �������������������� ��������������������������� ���������������������� Abbey Carpet & Floor of Hawthorne America’s choice in floor fashions since 1958 STORE HOURS Mon & Fri 9-6 Tues, Wed & Thurs 9-8 Sat 9-5 1030 Goffle Road, Hawthorne, NJ 973-427-7900