Freehold Township affordable housing issue to be considered June 30

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Possible action on a proposed ordinance that will help Freehold Township meet its obligation to provide opportunities for the development of affordable housing has been scheduled for June 30.

Township Committee members held a special meeting on June 16 to discuss the township’s affordable housing situation. No action was taken during that meeting.

The obligation to provide opportunities for the development of affordable housing has been mandated by New Jersey’s courts.

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

According to municipal officials, Freehold Township’s obligation is 878 affordable housing units.

One item before officials was a public hearing on an ordinance that will, if adopted, amend the affordable housing requirements of the township’s land use ordinance.

The amendments in the ordinance will allow for the development of proposed projects that will help Freehold Township meet the 878-unit obligation. Currently, the township has 575 units.

The ordinance and several related items previously appeared before the committee at a special meeting on April 27. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the April 27 meeting was conducted via teleconference and members of the public were not able to attend the meeting in person.

Citing a need for residents to be heard on the issue, officials moved the public hearing on the ordinance to June 16. However, residents were still unable to attend in person and the meeting was conducted via teleconference.

The governing body voted to carry the matter to June 30 for a meeting that will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Freehold Township Senior Center, 116 Jackson Mills Road. It is anticipated residents will be permitted to attend the meeting. Committee members may adopt the ordinance that evening.

According to municipal officials, three entities are interested in developing affordable housing in Freehold Township:

• Land Bank, LLC, plans to develop 23 units at a 50-acre parcel on Route 9 south (south of Three Brooks Road);

• K. Hovnanian plans to develop 12 units at a 23-acre parcel on Three Brooks Road (east of Halls Mill Road);

• M&M Macerich Corp. plans to develop 200 units at a 72-acre parcel between Route 9 and Route 537 (across from the Trotters Way entrance to the Freehold Raceway Mall).

Three parcels have been identified by municipal officials as locations for affordable housing:

• 34 units are planned to be developed on the Brock Farms property at the corner of Route 537 and Siloam Road;

• 45 units are planned to be developed at the Freehold Mall strip mall (not to be confused with the Freehold Raceway Mall) on Route 9 north;

• 60 units are planned to be developed through an expansion of the Chesterfield apartment complex on Route 537, east of Freehold Borough.

Through these six projects, Freehold Township officials said they would meet the 878-unit obligation by having a total of 902 affordable housing credits.

As a result of a settlement agreement, municipal officials must also designate three overlay zones for future affordable housing on Route 9 properties that are currently developed.

The three overlay zones will be 10.6 acres at the Chadwick Square strip mall and adjacent parcels on Route 9 north; 7 acres at the Bank of America building on Route 9 south (adjacent to the Brookdale Community College Freehold Campus); and a Red Roof Inn and 7 acres at a former Verizon building on Route 9 north, according to municipal officials.

The overlay zones will permit 12 units per acre, with the permitted use as mixed use commercial and residential, and the commercial component not required.

Any residential developments that are constructed in the overlay zones will be required to have 20% of the units that are available for purchase and 15% of the units that are available for rent designated as affordable housing.