SAYREVILLE – An ordinance that will allow the creation of a development that will help Sayreville meet its affordable housing obligations, but which has been a source of concern for residents near the planned development, has been tabled by the Borough Council.
If adopted, the ordinance will permit the development of a multi-family dwelling on Cross Avenue at the former National Lead site. According to the ordinance, the dwelling will have 163 units, with 24 units (15 percent) set aside as affordable.
Borough Attorney Michael DuPont said the ordinance was tabled on Jan. 22 because attorneys for the borough and the special master plan are negotiating the language of the ordinance. The ordinance is expected to reappear for a council vote at a future meeting.
As the result of a settlement agreement in New Jersey Superior Court, Sayreville is required to have 785 affordable units from 2015-25. Four hundred thirty-four affordable units are planned to be built as a result of the borough receiving credit for 351 affordable units. The Cross Avenue/National Lead Site project is intended as one of the planned developments that helps the borough reach its required number of affordable units.
However, the proposed development has been opposed by residents of the Melrose section of Sayreville, near where the property would be built. The residents have argued that the location for the project is not suited for development and should be preserved and designated as open space.
“Late summer, early fall, I was driving toward Oak Street on Cross Avenue and I happened to see a deer munching along the road there,” resident William Caro said. “As far as this area being designated as open space, there’s wildlife there.”
“We don’t want to see an ordinance to start building any housing on the Cross Avenue site,” resident Janice DiBenedetto said. “That’s why we handed in 480 signatures [against the project] and continued collecting them.”
Residents have also noted that Municipal Planner Susan Gruel, then serving as a review planner for the borough, found in her report that the Cross Avenue/National Lead Site project is not necessary to assist the borough in meeting its affordable housing obligations and recommended that it be removed.
The Cross Avenue/National Lead Site project was originally present as one of four developments that would be permitted by an ordinance that appeared before the council in 2017. During the year, Cross Avenue/National Lead was removed from the ordinance, with the projects Camelot at Sayreville I and Camelot at Sayreville II being left in. Both Camelot at Sayreville I and Camelot at Sayreville II are being developed by Kaplan Properties, which was granted intervener status in Sayreville’s ongoing affordable housing litigation.
National Lead subsequently requested intervener status, which the borough is appealing.
The ordinance to permit the Kaplan projects was denied by the Borough Council, but its adoption was subsequently ordered by Superior Court Judge Arnold Natali. The borough is currently appealing Natali’s order.
Contact Matthew Sockol at email@example.com.