aff-housing-overlayThe overlay zones reflect areas of potential development and redevelopment, borough officials say. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank moved closer to resolving issues with the state Council on Affordable Housing last night when the borough planning board approved a new overlay zone covering multi-unit residential development.

The new rules require developers who want to build five or more housing units at a density of six units per acre or more to set aside 20 percent of the units for low- and moderate-income buyers, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

But a map delineating the areas where the rules would apply prompted questions from  Councilwoman and planning board member Sharon Lee, who said she was concerned that the zones were weighted toward the town’s West Side.

While she favors the creation of affordable housing, Lee said, “I just want to make sure we don’t have a lot of crazy density” on the West Side.

Menna and other board members, though, responded that the map reflects areas where vacant or redevelopable land exists, and that failing to include it would be contrary to the aims of promoting the creation of affordable homes.

They also noted that the East Side has virtually no developable real estate; that the existing stock of single family homes is not likely to be razed for multifamily housing, and that the vast bulk of the town’s existing inventory of affordable housing units is on the East Side, mostly in the form of apartment complexes built decades ago.

The overlay zone “removes the other areas of town because those areas don’t have any reasonable likelihood of being developed in this way,” Menna told redbankgreen.

Afterward, Lee said she understood the rationale for the zone’s outlines, but remained concerned that it would hasten the loss of single-family homes with yards and garages on the West Side.

“We really want to encourage affordable housing,” she said. “But we don’t want to encourage it to the point where we don’t have new single-family housing.”

Under the terms of a pending settlement with COAH, Red Bank also won’t give developers “bonus” units in excess of what’s permitted in the zone, Menna said, adding that borough officials “didn’t concede” that they’d done so in the past.

The matter now goes to the borough council for adoption. Here’s the ordinance: 2009-46ordinance