Do Revised Plans For United Water Property Affect COAH Requirements

Now that Hekemian has substantially reduced the scope of the multi-unit housing complex from 221 units to 24, does this affect New Milford's COAH requirement?

Now that Hekemian has substantially reduced the amount of housing units from 221 to 24 in its revised proposed plans for development of the 13-acre United Water property, residents are asking if this will affect New Milford's COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) requirements. COAH creates a formula for how many units each town must build--a formula that has been the subject of multiple lawsuits.

Some officials speculate that these 24 units may all be set aside for affordable housing so that Hekemian can maintain its argument that the low income housing included in the proposed development plan falls under "inherently beneficial" use and, therefore, they should be granted the variance to proceed with the development

Affordable housing has been the crux of Hekemian's testimony. and the borough's need to comply with its affordable housing obligation. 

The original site plan application had called for 18 percent, or 40 units, of the 221 residential units be set aside to satisfy New Milford's low housing obligation. Kinsey also testified that the borough's master plan placed the fulfillment of its affordable housing obligation on the United Water property.

According to Kinsey, every 9412 sq. ft. of mercantile use should trigger requirements for one low income unit in a housing plan. Every 5714 sq. ft. of business use should trigger one low income housing unit.

The revised plan includes:

  • 70,500 sq. ft. supermarket
  • 4300 sq. ft. bank
  • 24 multi-family housing units
  • 54 parking spaces for housing units
  • 6500 sq. ft. restaurant at the north end of the property (This restaurant did not appear on the original site plans. However, it was part of Hekemian's April 2011 presentation at New Milford High School.)

The question on whether or not these proposed 24 housing units will be set aside for affordable housing is expected to be answered at the next Zoning Board meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Borough Hall at 7 pm. Hekemian's architect, Christian Lessard of Lessard Architectural Group, is tentatively scheduled to appear.


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Ulises December 05, 2012 at 01:19 PM
When will our officials amend the Master Plan removing COAH from this lot? If they do this there would be no lawsuit to follow if the ZB denies this proposal and there would be no ShopRite proposed since this property is still zoned residential. We should promote to develope in the center of town, for the ratables we all yern for, not along the river.
TommyIce December 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Good question Ulises. Why aren't the democrats (with the majority vote now) moving forward on changing the master plan back to open space? Could it be that part of the plan is to rout the Republicans at the next election, re-run DeBari and then develop the property the way DeBari dreamed of when they (the party in power then) originally changed the Master Plan to turn that property into DeBari-ville?
CB December 05, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Tommy, Democrats won't be majority till January. But the process should be started now by all of them who stated they were against this development: Berner, Ashley, Grant, and Duffie. But Ulises is right and this needs to start now so that if the ZB turns this down then at least COAH won't be located here. Will any of them speak up and suggest it at the next council meeting?
Sheldon Cooper December 05, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Do you have a problem with poor people?
TommyIce December 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM
My point, CB, is that how many of the newly elected, in addition to the current Democrats, served on the council when the Master Plan was changed (under DeBari's administration)? How did they vote then? If they voted for it then, why would they change it now? Of those that weren't on the council then, did they have appointed positions by that administration? Are they beholden in any shape or form? Organized political parties are no different than those other bastions of organization--unions and crime.
Denise December 05, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Whatever happened to the idea of building COAH on the plot of land near Canterbury Village or are those people to good for that?
Ulises December 05, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Hi Denise, I don't know and thank you for the kinds words you said about me yesterday.
Heather December 05, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I don't think rezoning and removing the COAH units from the UW property now would have any impact on Hekemian's current application. Too bad the M&C did not rezone the property in 2011 when it had the opportunity to do so - before Hekemian filed his application!
NewMilfDadMakinEndsMeet December 11, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Amen to those comments TI.
NewMilfDadMakinEndsMeet December 11, 2012 at 08:39 PM
You mean "heather" too bad DeBari and his past henchmen and women had it drawn up to his own benefit in his Masterful Plan and Vision. Too bad too bad too bad.


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