Mayor denies affordable housing application amid concerns over stream corridor

Eric Sucar

 

 

Mayor Shawn Lipani moved to deny the Campus Associates application on Feb. 25, and subsequently the application was unanimously denied by the Hillsborough Planning Board.

Various overarching environmental concerns lead to the denial, according to information provided by the township.

“Public health and safety is always the top priority in Hillsborough Township, and this was the impetus for my motion,” Lipani said in the statement.

The Campus Associates application did encompass an affordable housing element (23 units) and therefore, as a result of this denial, there will be potential litigation brought against the township, according to the statement.

Hillsborough’s stream corridor ordinance is more restrictive than that of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); Hillsborough’s requirement is for a 150 feet boundary for a stream corridor, while DEP’s minimum requirement for such is only 50 feet, according to the statement. The application brought forth by Campus Associates only allotted for a 50 foot boundary.

While it was argued that the township’s code could not be more restrictive than that of DEP, that is not necessarily the case. DEP’s requirements are minimum and the township is permitted to have a more restrictive requirement, according to the statement.

It was evident during various testimony that the more restrictive requirements needed to prevail, according to Lipani’s statement. Furthermore, the downstream water flow capacity was also brought into question by various witnesses and testimony. The existing neighborhood of Taylor and Johanson avenues raised concerns over flooding issues during the hearings.

“It is through the Planning Board process that applications such as this are reviewed and all aspects considered. Here is a prime example of how the process works in so much as providing the factual testimony for consideration which resulted in this denial,” Lipani said in the statement.