SAYREVILLE – As part of an affordable housing obligation to the state, the Sayreville Borough Council has allowed the creation of developments with affordable units to move forward while requiring the developments have fewer market rate units than were originally proposed.
On May 13, council members adopted two separate ordinances that amended an existing ordinance establishing new affordable housing districts for the Camelot at Sayreville I and Camelot at Sayreville II developments, and amended an existing ordinance establishing a new affordable housing district for the Cross Avenue development.
Camelot I and Camelot II are being developed by the Kaplan Companies and Cross Avenue is being developed by National Lead, both of which filed as and were granted intervener status in Sayreville’s litigation over its affordable housing requirement.
As a result of the developers’ intervener status, the council was presented with ordinances to permit their developments with affordable housing in their zones. In the original ordinance permitting the developments, Camelot I had 173 units, with 26 units designated as affordable housing; Camelot II had 300 units, with 45 units designated as affordable housing; and Cross Avenue had 163 units, with 24 units designated as affordable housing.
Under the current ordinances, Camelot I will have 168 units, with a minimum of 10 units designated as affordable housing; Camelot II will have 150 units, with a minimum of eight units designated as affordable housing; and Cross Avenue will have 132 units, with a minimum of seven units designated as affordable housing.
The Camelot developments also may have an additional 10 units, but are not permitted have more than 318 units combined.
Because the projects will create additional market rate units apart from the required affordable housing units, the developments have been a source of concern for residents who have spoken about the potential impact the additional residential units may have on the school district, traffic, taxes, open space, population density and safety.
The Cross Avenue property has received additional opposition from residents of the Melrose section of Sayreville, near where the project is scheduled to be built. The residents have contended that the location for the project is not suitable for development and should be preserved and designated as open space.
In 2017, the original ordinance that would have permitted the two Camelot developments and the Cross Avenue development was amended to include only the two Camelot developments and was then rejected by the council.
The rejection of the ordinance was overruled by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Arnold Natali. After the borough appealed the judge’s decision, the ordinances creating the new affordable housing districts were adopted by council members in 2018. The adoption of the new ordinances was concurrent with the governing body memorializing the execution of a settlement agreement between Sayreville, National Lead, Kaplan and the Fair Share Housing Center, which advocates for the creation of Affordable Housing in New Jersey.
Also on May 13, the council adopted an ordinance that adopts an amended redevelopment plan for properties on River Road. According to the redevelopment plan, there will be a family rental development in that area that will have all 88 of its units designated as affordable housing.
Sayreville’s requirement is 785 affordable units.
The ordinances received support from resident Jim Robinson, a former Planning Board chairman who had been critical of the previous affordable housing ordinances.
“I am glad we are finally at the point where we can be approving these ordinances,” Robinson said. “They are measurably better [than the previous ordinances]. We can measure how much better they are.
“We can measure that as a result of these ordinances, there will be fewer market-rate apartments, there will be fewer cars, there will be fewer school children – not a bad thing, but there’s a cost associated with that – there will be more apartments for seniors, thanks to SERA (Sayreville Economic Redevelopment Agency) and the Housing Authority getting involved,” he continued. “And there will be apartments that will have veterans preference as a result of this. So this a measurably better ordinance and I appreciate very much that you [the governing body] are at this point.”
Resident Janice Benedetto of the Melrose section, however, reiterated concern towards the development of Cross Avenue property.
“Unfortunately, 22 acres of wooded property with wildlife like wild turkeys, deer, raccoons and hawks, and other concerns such as watersheds and floodplains are going to be developed,” Benedetto said. “It’s really a shame that we’re going to lose the quality of life for not only the residents of the town, but for the wildlife and you don’t have 22 acres in town anywhere else that’s wooded like it is. It should have been purchased for open space.
“I hope that this doesn’t happen again in this borough,” she said. “I hope that as this is developed, we make this the best development humanly possible to enhance the quality of life in this town. And as it’s developed, we maintain as much open space and wooded area as possible.”