Route 33 project would go toward affordable housing quota


By Matthew Sockol
Staff Writer

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Township Committee members have taken action that will begin the process of creating a potential 66-unit affordable age-restricted apartment community on Business Route 33 between Wemrock Road and Cardigan Bay Lane.

Committee members took the action on Jan. 24.

The apartments would be constructed on a 7.3-acre lot near the Freehold Hebrew Benefit Society cemetery on the eastbound side of Business Route 33. The construction and operation of the housing has been proposed by PIRHL Acquisitions, LLC, according to information from township officials.

As part of the preparations for the construction of the project, the committee adopted an ordinance that creates a senior housing overlay zone on the property.

According to the ordinance, the creation of the overlay zone will provide a realistic opportunity for the construction of rental apartment housing for seniors of low and moderate incomes as required by the New Jersey Supreme Court and the Fair Housing Act.

The ordinance added the senior housing zone to the township’s list of zones and to the zoning map, and created zoning requirements for that parcel.

Prior to adopting the ordinance, the committee passed a resolution that established the reasons for its adoption.

According to the resolution, the Freehold Township Planning Board found that the ordinance was inconsistent with the township’s master plan, but recommended that it be adopted.

The reasons for the ordinance’s adoption, as stated in the resolution, are that:

• As determined by the Planning Board, the ordinance will advance the purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law

• The ordinance will encourage the development of the planned adult community for low and moderate income seniors at a location consistent with the housing plan element of the master plan

• The planned adult community is also consistent with the guidelines for affordable housing development in the housing plan element

• The ordinance will encourage development compatible with the surrounding uses and development will be buffered from existing or future potential residential development

• The ordinance will facilitate the construction of affordable senior housing that is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fair Housing Act

• The traffic generated by an age-restricted development occurs outside of the peak hours of traffic.

The committee members also passed a resolution finding and determining that the proposed project for the senior apartment community would meet an existing housing need.

Finally, the committee introduced an ordinance which will, if adopted, authorize officials to execute a payment in lieu of taxes agreement with PIRHL Acquisitions regarding the project. That ordinance is scheduled for adoption on Feb. 21.

Mayor Lester Preston, Deputy Mayor David Salkin and committeemen Anthony Ammiano and Thomas Cook voted in favor of the ordinances and resolutions at the meeting. Committeewoman Barbara McMorrow was absent.

During the meeting, resident Nicole Boyce, who lives near the lot that is intended for the project, asked about the impact the potential apartment community would have on traffic, at what times construction would take place and if the age restriction on the housing could expire at some point after it has been constructed.

Township Administrator Peter Valesi said the units will be deed restricted to individuals at least 55 years old and older. He said if and when an application for the project comes before the Planning Board, the members of that body will discuss issues related to construction and the traffic impact of the housing. Valesi said municipal ordinances relating to construction and traffic will have to be followed.

Salkin said this project is in its early stages of development.

“This is very preliminary,” he said. “It is more of a concept than anything else.”