Council Calls for Second Look at Scaled Back Special Needs Housing
A proposal by United Way to create four special needs housing off of Kinderkamack Road could be reworked to allow for additional housing
With a growing population of young adults with developmental disabilities, a first draft plan by United Way to construct four special needs housings on Kinderkamack Road is heading back to the drafting table.
The proposal, presented by the non-profit organization's President Tom Toronto, received tentative approval by the Mayor and Council on Tuesday night to go forward with additional revisions for a potentially larger scale project.
"I'm envisioning the site having duplexes, almost three stories tall that backs up to Meyerhoff Avenue," Councilman Garrie Murphy said. "I've love to see a two-story building with a first floor entrance on Kinderkamack and the second floor entrance from Meyerhoff."
United Way is seeking to purchase the under utilized borough parking lot on the main thoroughfaire between Mackay and Winne avenues and just below Meyerhoff Place and construct housing similar to their Allendale projects Cresent Commons (24 residents) and Orchard Commons (10 residents). United Way is currently constructing Airmount Woods in Ramsey which will house eight autistic residents.
"We looked at a number of borough owned properties and the current municipal parking lot, while narrow is long and close to mass transit," Toronto said. United Way previously looked at properties between Mackay and Reis Avenues and on Genther Place. "It was suggested the parking lot is under utilized and would be a good fit."
He estimated that the state has a current waiting list of 8,000 adults with a developmental disability for housing. According to Toronto, there may be upwards of 40,000 New Jersey residents with a developmental disability.
"I'm a parent of an adult child with developmental disabilities that lives in Orchard Commons for the past two years," Dr. Bruce Meyer said. "All of the families and residents visit the Allendale merchants and spend time in town. It means so much to the families and community, I would love to see that in Oradell."
Larry Weisberg added that Oradell has a community has never neglected its own special needs children.
"We offer a first rate education starting at Oradell Public School and through middle and high school," Weisberg said. "We've enable our children to stay in the school system and now many are growing to adulthood, remaining in town living with their aging parents and little options to find a place to live. The best option is to allow United Way and the Madeline Corp to build a small complex. This creates a bond between the community we can all be proud of."
The housing would be offered as either rentals wuth United Way managing the complex or low income condominiums that could be purchased by the family of someone with a developmental disability through the American Dream Program. Either option could fill Oradell's remaining COAH obligations although selling the units would require a 30-year deed restriction stating the housing could only be occupied by someone that meets certain criteria for special needs housing.
"If we can develop a concept that meets council approval, purchase the property and go through a site plan presentation the actually construction could take six to eight months to complete," Toronto said. "I would say we could potentially complete this by 2014 if the shovels hit the ground by fall."
Toronto is expected to return in the spring with revised plans for a larger scale project.