RED BANK: HOUSING & MORE PACKS AGENDA
The former home of the Visiting Nurse Association is seen as the answer to a chunk of Red Bank’s affordable housing obligation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
A plan to resolve Red Bank’s so-called Mount Laurel affordable housing obligation is up for resolution Wednesday night.
Also up for votes: a series of small-bore zoning changes, help for motorists at a dicey corner and more. Here’s a look at the busy agenda.
• The council is scheduled to vote on a settlement agreement between the borough and the nonprofit Fair Share Housing Center that would add to the town’s inventory of housing affordable by low- and moderate-income renters and buyers.
Though on paper the borough has an obligation to provide some 740 affordable units by 2025, the parties have agreed that with hardly any developable vacant lots, the town will have an “unmet need” of hundreds of units, consulting planner Chris Dockery, of CME Associates, told the council at its April 3 workshop meeting.
“Fair Share recognizes that you don’t really have the ability to produce those at any time in the near future,” he said.
The deal pegs the “realistic development potential” at 92 new units, he said.
To meet various goals established over decades of litigation against towns statewide, Red Bank will rely largely on rehabilitating existing 129 units of substandard housing, at a cost of $10,000 per unit, and look to the redevelopment of the former Visiting Nurse Association headquarters, at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and Bodman Place, to provide new affordable units, Dockery said.
The complex proposal, detailed in a report, anticipates that 38 affordable rental units would be created by Saxum Real Estate on the 2.7-acre VNA site. That’s out of 189 units overall that may be built at the site.
The plan also calls for rehabilitating 90 existing units at the Montgomery Terrace and Evergreen Terrace apartment complexes owned by the Red Bank Housing Authority, and reviving a dormant rehab program under which qualified property owners can obtain grants to upgrade substandard housing.
All other new multifamily developments would be required to provide onsite affordable housing according to sliding scale, or contribute cash to the rehab program, Dockery said.
The plan was cleared by the planning board for compliance with the borough’s Master Plan last week.
Also on the agenda:
• A ban on parking for 110 feet of Chestnut Street, from the corner of West Street, in front of the Red Bank Armory Ice Complex. The goal is to make it easier for motorists entering the intersection from West Street, police Chief Darren McConnell told the council.
“People can’t see what’s coming,” McConnell said. The current no-parking zone is just 25 feet long, “and there’s inevitably an SUV parked in the first spot, and you can’t see anything” past it looking to the east, he said.
But changing the ordinance without enforcing it won’t make a difference, said Mayor Pasquale Menna. McConnell said he agreed.
“We’re stepping up enforcement,” said Business Administrator Ziad Shehady. He added that officials were looking into the placement of bollards or planters in locations where no-parking violations are frequent, such as in front of the Playa Bowls on West Front Street, to change behaviors, because “you can’t keep putting police resources on enforcement.”
• Appointments to the newly formed Redevelopment Agency. The announcement has been advertised twice, but postponed each time. The names of the appointees have not yet been disclosed.
• A series of planning and zoning changes regarding shed heights, apartments above street level, professional offices, front-yard setbacks, and concept-plan reviews.
• The creation of an electricity aggregation plan that’s said to guarantee lower rates than those offered by Jersey Central Power & Light. See redbankgreen‘s April 8 report on this for more detail.
• The introduction of a proposed increase in the penalties for false alarms.
The first two alarms within a calendar year will still generate warnings. But the fine for the third will jump to $100, from the current $15, and the fourth will cost a property owner $250, up from $25. Subsequent violations will cost $500, up from $50.
The council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.