Council Refers Hunter Redevelopment Plan To MLUB

The Hunter property, officially known as West Webster Avenue Area 1, had its redevelopment plan referred by the governing body under Resolution 308-18 to the Municipal Land Use Board (MLUB) for review and the board’s November 5th meeting.

Located across the street from 7-Eleven on West Webster Avenue and running from Locust Street to the little league field complex, the property owner has expressed the intent to build but has not publicly provided any specifics. The one-acre property itself consists of four (4) parcels and has been designated as An Area In Need Of Redevelopment eleven months ago by the MLUB.

The purpose of An Area In Need Of Redevelopment along with a redevelopment plan is to allow a municipality – with or without input from a proposed developer – to determine the parameters of development on a certain site. This plan would, in effect, supersede all provisions of any existing zoning ordinance within that area.

This particular redevelopment plan for the Hunter property allows for mixed use with ground floor commercial use and residential units for floors above that. The plan allows for four stories at a maximum height of 50 feet but only up to 25% of the ground floor building footprint can be over three stories with a maximum of 40 feet.

Up to 60 units are allowed under this plan with no more than 30% of the development being two-bedroom units. The remaining 70% would be comprised of studios and one-bedroom apartments. Three-bedroom units are explicitly prohibited – for market-rate units – under the plan. The term ‘market rate units’ implies that if affordable housing is part of the project, those units would be allowed to include three-bedroom units; which would be permitted by law. There is no mention of whether the plan allows for two-bedroom units with a den which appears to have become the new nomenclature for two-and-a-half bedrooms or three-bedrooms. Parking for residential units will be calculated at 1.5 spaces per unit. For a 60 unit complex, that will come out to 90 parking spaces that will be needed.

With regard to commercial space, the minimum retail/commercial space will be 4,000 square feet. The off-street parking requirements are mentioned for a cafe or restaurant at a ratio of one (1) parking space per three (3) seats.

Under the building and site design section of the plan, the parameters are given for landscaping, lighting, sidewalks, recycling and refuse, signage, utilities, building facade design, common areas & amenities, green infrastructure/building design, and a bike path. Section 4(I) requires that a bike path be designed along the rear of the development along the railroad right-of-way. The plan also incorporates the borough’s complete streets policy.

A curious terminology used in the plan specifically makes a distinction between the words “Shall” and “Should”.

“Shall” is defined as something that a developer is required to comply with the specific regulation, without any deviation. “Should” is defined as something that a developer is encouraged to comply but is not required to do so.

A review of the plan has the word ‘shall’ used 73 times while ‘should’ is used only five (5) times: under sections 4(A), 4(F), 4(G), 4(J), and 8.

By way of comparison, the word ‘encouraged’ is used seven (7) times in the plan in sections 4(A) and 4(J) which might lead to some confusion as to the difference between ‘should’ and ‘encouraged’.

The redevelopment plan was prepared by Neglia Engineering last month.

The foreseeable schedule for this project is as follows:

  • November 5, 2018: MLUB reviews redevelopment plan and votes whether to adopt a resolution in support or against the plan with findings and recommendations
  • November 15, 2018: Mayor & Council review the findings and recommendations of the MLUB and, if approved, legally introduce an ordinance to enable adoption of the West Webster Avenue Area 1 Redevelopment Plan
  • December 6, 2018: A second reading of the ordinance along with the public hearing and vote by the governing body to approve or reject the redevelopment plan is scheduled to occur.

The first of these will take place Monday night during the November 5th MLUB meeting in the Roselle Park Municipal Complex located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.

A copy of the West Webster Avenue Area 1 Redevelopment Plan is available below:

Download West Webster Avenue Area 1 Redevelopment Plan