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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  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 "" 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.

Ulises June 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Our politicians' compromise in the developer's interest is in motion people... So much talk from the Democrats and Republicans over this land and at the end of the day DeBari's Democratics and Subrizi's Republicans are all on the same page since they all voted to rezone this property. As the new planner stated something is going to be develop on this site... If you are against the development of this property, which is in the boro's flood zone, send SOD (Stop-Over-Development) an email to find out our mission SODNOW@yahoo.com SOD!
Denise June 12, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Oh gee, I can't wait to see what COAH"S Round 3 obligations are....since they have yet to be determined. I wonder what they are and where in New Milford they will be put........,
Darlene June 12, 2012 at 05:12 PM
"A rehabilitation area can be designated by resolution of the governing body WITHOUT HAVING TO HAVE A PUBLIC HEARING before the planning board...... This option GIVES THE GOVERNING BODY MORE LEVERAGE in dealing, and negotiating, with a potential developer.” Wow. Would our "governing body" really be so bold/foolish as to attempt this route knowing that the eyes of New Milford are focused squarely upon them in this matter?
Pat June 13, 2012 at 12:31 AM
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but something will be built on that property. There is not a lot that you, me or the mayor and council can do to stop it. It is private property and only subject to zoning laws. This is starting to sound a lot like spot zoning and will easily be knocked down in court. All the developer needs to do is submit for a subdivision permit to the planning board. Then the town is F#$%ed. They will be stuck with all those single family homes, abandoned and / or incomplete.

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