Draft Rezoning Study Presented to Mayor and Council
Planner offers various options for the Mayor and Council to consider in the potential rezoning of the United Water property.
In what borough attorney Mark Madaio described as a "draft discussion," the mayor and council was presented with a preliminary draft of the rezoning study of the 13-acre United Water property at Monday's work session by zoning board planner Paul Grygiel, of Phillips Preiss and Grygiel LLC.
In calling for a rezoning study at the mayor and council's May work session, Mayor Ann Subrizi specifically wants the planner to address the location of New Milford's affordable housing requirement under COAH (Council On Affordable Housing) that the 2004 Master Plan rests solely on the United Water property.
Placing affordable housing on that property is the crux of the developer's argument before the zoning board of adjustment. Dr. David Kinsey, Hekemian's expert planner, has cited that the affordable housing component in the proposed residential development constitutes an "inherently beneficial use" and therefore, a "D" variance should be granted.
Subrizi also wants the study to determine if the mayor and council can rezone the property and come to a "less intensive use" that would better suit the character of the town.
"I need the planner to say we can fulfill COAH elsewhere or we can rezone [the property] for a less intensive use," Subrizi said.
Gyrgiel reported that COAH's affordable housing requirements are not site specific despite the fact that the 2004 master plan places the town's entire obligation on the United Water property.
Grygiel said that New Milford has an obligation to provide 23 affordable housing units along with 45 rehabilitation units under COAH's Round 2 obligations; Round 3 obligations have not yet been determined.
Regarding the actual rezoning, Grygiel said that the mayor and council need to consider what types of uses make sense for that property. Types of zoning include:
- Residential zoning includes single family houses, multi-family units, townhouses and age-restricted housing.
- Commercial zoning would include retail stores, strip malls, hotels and corporate offices.
- Open Space/Park
In determining how they would like to rezone the property, Grygiel cautioned the mayor and council to consider the negative impact that the development would have: municipal/fiscal impact, impact on services, impact on schools, types of traffic, how does it impact the community character and does it generate an affordable housing need.
Grygiel offered another option--Area In Need of Rehabilitation. This option applies to property that contains, in part, a water and sewer infrastructure that is at least 50 years old and is in need of repair or substantial maintenance.
A rehabilitation area can be designated by resolution of the governing body without having to have a public hearing before the planning board. The municipality could designate the property as a rehabilitation area and develop a simple redevelopment plan pursuant to a redeveloper agreement. This option gives the governing body more leverage in dealing, and negotiating, with a potential developer.
Grygiel recommends that the mayor and council consider the rehabilitation area option in light of the fact that the property is already zoned and that something is going to be built on the site.
The mayor and council anticipate that Grygiel's final report will be presented at the June 25 public meeting.