On March 28, 2016 the Glen Rock Borough Council approved the first reading of the new AR-1 ordinance. The ordinance 1739 reads as:
Ord. # 1739 – First Reading – AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND CHAPTER 230 OF THE REVISED GENERAL ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF GLEN ROCK, 1971 ENTITLED “ZONING” BEING AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A UNIFORM SET OF ZONING REQUIREMENTS; TO ADD AN AR-1 AGE RESTRICTED HOUSING DISTRICT
The AR-1 was originally introduced to the council a few years ago as the S-2 ordinance for senior housing. Because of it being age restricted, not senior, they changed the title to AR-1.
To see the potential site plan: click here
Proposed details from Developer: click here
On April 7th, The council held a special meeting about the AR-1 for all resident to attend to ask questions. At this meeting the council was there with Ed Snieckus of Burgis Associates, our new borough planner and Gary Ascolese of Boswell Engineering, Borough Engineer.
Before opening the floor to the public comment and question section of the meeting, Mayor Packer addressed the question about procedures of the potential development of the zone. He first stated that the planning board did recommend that the AR-1 zone ordinance for 2nd reading. They then also explained that If the ordinance passes, then the developer has to present a detailed site plan to the planning board.
Mayor Packer also then took time to explain why are we looking at having this AR-1 zone.
- The master plan of 2002 – suggests that there is a need for more housing for seniors and empty nesters.
- it also increases the tax base.
Mr Snieckus then explained the details of this proposed Ordinance and zone.
- This zone is specific for the property and lots on Prospect St., It is not a general zone for the whole Borough.
- it is designated for High density or single family living. This is so that there can be a single family home on the property in the transition and development of the site plan.
- There are several extensive requirements that are included in the zone:
- Architectural features
- Safety conditions to construction type.
- This will also help in the master plan goals of affordable housing.
- IF passed, another developer can not just come in and have an AR-1 assigned to their lot. This is specific for the Prospect St property.
During the open comments section there were many concerns about this AR-1 zone. One of the biggest concerns from the surrounding residents, was the housing density of the property. The AR-1 zone mentions 30 units / acre as the density.
Resident Gino Reina asked the council where the 30 units / acre figure comes from. The planner and the council could not explain how it was developed. Councilwoman Kristine Morieko, responded to resident Joe Conners concern about the density by stating that neighboring towns density for High Density housing is 15-20 units / acre. The planner could not explain where the 30 comes from, since as he stated in January and has not been part of the process. .
In BTN’s research the general formula to determine the density is taking the about of square feet in an Acre (43,560) and dividing it by the average square foot of the unit (1100 for 2 bedroom and 900 for 1 bedroom) This comes to 43 units. Per Mr Snieckus, factors also include set back, building height and side setbacks.
Ric Harrison, the potential developer for this AR-1, reached out to BTN to clarify that Glen Courts density is 50 / acre. There was no other explanation of the 30 units / acre. Resident Greg Morgan responded to BTN that it is not comparable since it is located in a central business district.
Mr Morgan then suggested the town benchmark other towns regulations as and that the council should not vote on this it has a rationale for a reasonable density. He also continued to express concern of the 40 foot setback. The surrounding houses have a set back of 50 feet. A taller structure should have a bigger setback not a smaller one.
I think its a bad thing to do for our town. I think building a 63 unit development will destroy our street and the feel of our side of town
Greg Morgan, GR Resident
Councilman Skip Huisking brought up a concern that having a new high density zone could potentially make it more easy for developers to sue the town using a “builders’ remedy”. He then requested the relevant information (case law), but the town attorney has not supplied the relevant analysis yet.
Resident Joe Conner brought up a a concern of enforcing the age restriction and who would do that? Per Mayor Packer, it would be the town informing the owner of the property. IT was then clarified by the planner that by During the site plan review, their would be a requirement of by-laws of the development that would state the age restriction. This will help the enforcablity of the zones age restriction.
Council Members Amy Martin, Mike O’Hagan, and Skip Huisking expressed their concerns. Councilwoman Amy Martin, is for age restricted housing, but is concerned about the location. Age restricted housing should be closer to town so that they can utilize the town more. She then also expressed her concern about the density. Councilman O’Hagan then agreed with the comments and the concerns about the density and stated that are questions that need to be answered. Councilman Skip Huisking clarified that the average setback in that area is 38 feet, smaller than the 50 foot setback in the resident zoning law. He also expressed his concerned about the code / law enforcement of the age restriction and the housing density.
You can see the full meeting here on GRTV
The final reading on this ordinance is Wednesday April 13, 8pm at Borough Hall.
If you have concerns please come and express them during the public discussion prior to the vote.