November 4, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 3 Franklin Lakes Board to hear new plan for Colonial Road housing by Frank J. McMahon The Franklin Lakes Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on an amended plan for the 14-acre affordable housing site on Colonial Road that was approved by the board in December 2003. The amended plan will allow the current owner of the property, GS Realty Corporation, which is part of Amboy Bank, to market the 84 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. According to the legislation, the cost of both renting and homeownership 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 population, even while the cost of housing in New Jersey has declined under currently eroding economic conditions. The legislation further states that the shortage of affordably priced workforce housing has been made worse in recent years by a municipal preference for agerestricted housing which has resulted in 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, a mechanism is needed to permit an age-restricted development to change to a converted development to meet this rule, and to meet demographic needs. Therefore, the legislation provides that during the 24 months ending in June 2011, any age-restricted development will be eligible to be changed to a converted development pending the original approving board’s consent, provided that the development meets certain conditions. Specifically, the developer is not holding a deposit or has not conveyed any dwelling unit within the development, and the developer agrees that 20 percent of the units will be affordable housing units, and those units will become part of the municipality’s affordable housing fair share plan. Stephen Sinisi, the attorney for GS Realty, assured the board that, while some technical design changes are being made to the plan, it is essentially the same plan that was approved in 2003. The board scheduled a field trip to the site, which is located between Colonial Road and Route 287 for late last month and a public hearing for Dec. 2. The Colonial Road site was approved for affordable housing in 2001 when the borough reached a settlement agreement with University Heights. That company wanted to build rental units on a site on Old Mill Road, in a “builder’s remedy” lawsuit against the borough that the owners of the Colonial Road site had previously joined. A builder’s remedy suit is filed when a developer believes a municipality has not met its affordable housing obligation and is not protected by the Council on Affordable Housing or by the court. In such a suit, the court can impose a remedy that requires a municipality to allow a developer to build a higher than normal density of market rate units in a residential development in order to include low- and moderate-income housing there. The settlement agreement with University Heights established a compliance plan that was endorsed by the court in November 2001 and permitted the construction of affordable housing on the Old Mill Road site, and on the site on Colonial Road. The construction of affordable housing on Old Mill Road was approved by the planning board in March 2003, and construction began in July 2005. The Colonial Road affordable housing project was never built because the original developer eventually went bankrupt and the property was taken over by Amboy Bank. All residents of Franklin Lakes who are interested in the search for the next K-8 superintendent are invited to attend a public forum to help establish the search criteria for potential candidates. Paul Breda, a consultant with New Jersey School Boards Association, will be on hand to meet residents and gather input on the professional and personal attributes and experience that Superintendent search underway are essential for the new superintendent. This input will be used to formulate the search standards and criteria. This forum will be held in the Franklin Avenue Middle School multi-purpose room on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact Franklin Lakes School Business Administrator Mike Solokas at (201) 891-1856. Decorate Your Home Kale & Cabbage for Thanksgiving! Indian Corn Fall Wreaths BREATHTAKING SELECTION FABULOUS QUALITY �������������� ������������� (reg. $250.00) Trees & Shrubs 25%-50% Off Free Delivery Offer good through 12-31-09 (with coupon). EXCLUDES CHRISTMAS ITEMS Fairway Estate Garden Center Split Seasoned Firewood Full Cord $23995 Half Cord $16995 Offer good through 11-15-09 (with coupon). 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