Hazlet officials rezone Stone Road Meadows Farm for affordable housing

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With no comment or opposition from residents, municipal officials in Hazlet have unanimously adopted an ordinance that rezones Stone Road Meadows Farm to create an affordable housing district.

Municipal officials said rezoning the property would accommodate the development of affordable housing at that location. The 26-acre property is located on Route 36 in Hazlet.

Affordable housing is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below market rates to individuals and families whose income meets certain guidelines.

The Stone Road Meadows Farm property is identified as block 65, lot 1, according to the ordinance. The parcel is owned by Granada Estates Inc., according to online records.

The ordinance rezoning the property was adopted during a Township Committee meeting on April 16.

On a roll call, Mayor Scott Aagre, Deputy Mayor Michael Glackin, Committeeman James McKay, Committeeman Mike Sachs and Committeewoman Tara Corcoran-Clark voted to adopt the ordinance without comment.

When asked about the nature of the property, Aagre said, “The site has now been updated to (conform) with current agreements from the court … The property has been the same for 50 years and we hope (the farm) stays that way for another 50 years.”

On Aug. 7, 2018, several hundred residents attended a committee meeting and objected to a compliance plan that would have permitted the construction of affordable housing on neighboring parcels, including the Stone Road Meadows property.

The residents’ main objection was to what many people called “congested housing.”

Committee members delayed action on the matter following the overwhelming concern that was displayed by residents that evening.

On Aug. 28, 2018, committee members tabled a compliance plan that called for the development of affordable housing on neighboring parcels in Hazlet.

In an Aug. 28 letter to residents, Aagre said, “We will request from the court the ability for Hazlet to formulate a new compliance plan with the current affordable housing numbers in order to provide the town protection against future builder’s remedy lawsuits.”

On Nov. 20, municipal officials endorsed a preliminary compliance plan that would help Hazlet satisfy its affordable housing obligation.

In December, the township’s proposed compliance plan was approved by state Superior Court Judge Dennis R. O’Brien, sitting in Freehold, during a fairness hearing.

The ordinance that was adopted on April 16 states that no more than 312 residential units may be constructed at the Stone Road Meadows Farm property. Of that total, 63 units will be designated as affordable housing. Nine of the 63 units will be reserved for households that have what is classified as very low income.

The ordinance states that a maximum of 20 percent (13 units) of the affordable units will have one bedroom. At least 30 percent (19 units) of the affordable units will have two bedrooms. At least 20 percent (13 units) of the affordable units will have three bedrooms, according to the ordinance.

According to the ordinance, “the affordable units will be credit-worthy against the township’s round three affordable housing obligations and thus shall comply with (New Jersey’s) round two regulations, Uniform Housing Affordability Controls, the Fair Housing Act, including the 13 percent very low income requirement, and all other applicable laws.”

Permitted accessory uses at the Stone Road Meadows Farm site would include a clubhouse, garages and off-street parking. The market rate units that could be built at the site would be age-restricted, according to the ordinance.