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Developer Requests Zoning Change for Residential Area

Conceptual plans propose 46 two-bedroom units and 92 parking spaces off of Kinderkamack Road

For years, the lot at 230 Kinderkamack Road in River Edge near Reservoir Avenue has sat empty as developers have tried to come up with the best option for the two-acre area that slopes down from Kinderkamack Road to railroad tracks below.

This week, attorney Tom Barrett presented a request from the current owners for a zoning amendment from the current conditional use for an age-restricted housing zone to allow for 46 residential units to be split between a trio of buildings.

The borough approved Ordinance #1659 in 2009 to allow for the conditional use of age restricted, multi-family residential dwellings in the R-1 district from Block 1005, Lots 6.01 through 12 and Block 1302, Lots 1 through 3 as part of Chapter 416 (Zoning).

"We are requesting a revision to the ordinance to eliminate where it calls that families or individuals must be at least 55 years or older and none younger than 19 years of age," Barrett said. "At this time there is no real need for age restricted housing in the state. Another provision we are seeking to have eliminated is the requirement to provide a number of affordable housing units as required under COAH as it has been abolished."

The proposed project calls for 46 two-bath, two-bedroom units measuring 1100-square foot units to be built. The units would be split between three buildings, two of which would face out onto Kinderkamack Road and the third building placed further back on the property closer to the railroad tracks.

According to Barrett, the ideal demographic is young professionals, commuters and empy nesters who wish to stay in the area. Each unit has an estimated price tag of $325,000.

The buildings would measure 39.5 feet in height with pitched roofs to create a more residential feel, project architect Ray Ragona said. Increased setbacks would be included as well to create better access for the borough's fire trucks to reach the rear building.

Parking on the site would be handled by a mix of 92 parking spaces, garages and driveway space.

"If the Mayor and Council go forward with the zoning amendment, we're ready to go full speed ahead and beging presenting our plans to the borough and County's Planning Board," Barrett said. "We also need approval from NJ Transit and the BPU."

A zoning amendment could be introduced as early as the Dec. 5 Mayor and Council meeting, but would then need to be reviewed by the borough's Planning Board before it could be adopted. 

Once the amendment is adopted, the developer would present a full site plan review to the Planning Board.

amy forman November 30, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Maybe this should be granted IF the developer will also develop the Main Street fiasco!
GGT November 30, 2011 at 09:52 PM
325K!!! To live on KKR backing up, or should I say sliding down to the railroad tracks. Young professionals!!!! Oh I am sure they will be falling over themselves to live there. But of course they would want to live there, when their other options might be Hoboken or Manhattan, or Park Slope. And remove the age restriction, of course!!! And no one will buy them, and they will be turned into more rentals, with more impact on the schools, infrastructure, and of course taxes.
RWC November 30, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Maybe if the developer has a congenial working experience with the town, he might be very interested in the Main St. project. If they give them a hard time & slap fees an regulatory costs every time they turn around, maybe not so much. As for Hoboken,Manhattan, or Park Slope, first off, if you live in Manhattan there's no need to commute. Thought I'd point that out. As for Hoboken, you're not going to touch a comparable brand new condo for the same price and you'd prob. pay extra for parking. I have no clue about Park Slope but I'll bet it's the same deal. For a young professional starting out, I'd bet many would jump on it.
River Edger December 01, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Main Street project? Do you mean Hoffman-Koos? How could they possibly build there? Outgoing Mayor Watkins just swore to us that the development of that land was days from being underway. I even got a newsletter on the subject. She couldn't possibly have been lying to us in an attempt to be re-relected, could she?
GGT December 01, 2011 at 03:12 PM
RWC: Actually you can buy condos in Hoboken at that price (the market has changed you know), and for most parking would not be an issue as many of the young professionals starting out living in urban environments don't need or want cars. Away from that however, most young professionals starting out would not be buying anyhow, but rather renting. And they would not be renting in River Edge or other suburban towns, if they worked in NYC, as there is simply nothing to do in these towns for young people. And again it is on KKR, not a pleasant place to live. (horrendous traffic,/noise, and run down) Not to mention what kind of property taxes are these condo shacks going to have?? The developer wants to overturn the ordinance for age restrictions so he can hopefully sell them to anyone, when he cannot, he will simply rent them, as was done with a few of the last batch of 8 or 9 condos built on KKR going towards the train station. In my opinion the last thing River Edge needs is more multi-family rental housing in town. As far as Mayor Watkins, you should give it a rest she lost the election, and you can say what you want about her, but she is not a liar. The voters of River Edge by a small minority have made it clear the they want to return to a land of make believe, and with Cherry Blossom Park developed, and the American Legion made into a senior/community center, together with $$ grants, and a dedicated core of voulunteers, River Edge can be restored to greatness.
Mary Anne December 01, 2011 at 09:09 PM
The reason the Kinderkamack property was zoned age 55+ back in 2009 was to eliminate the impact of additional students on our school system and pocketbooks. Two bedroom units offered at $325,000 will attract families looking to send their children to River Edge's top rated schools. And if the real estate market conditions do not change -- these units may be offered as apartments. Keep in mind this new 46 unit development will be a short walk to Cherry Hill school. The estimate given at Monday night's Council meeting of only 6 new children from this complex being added to the school system is grossly underestimated. The potential for dozens of new students enrolling in our local schools is a very real possibility if this ordinance is changed. The influx of this many new students will significantly increase the school's expenses therefore our taxes. The tax revenue brought in from this development may fall far short of the increased cost for Borough services in combination with the increased expenses to the schools. The Council needs to take a realistic look at this proposed ordinance change and the potential negative impact on our property taxes.
Alphonse Bartelloni December 01, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Even if the number of children doubled from the 7.3 projected to 15 students, the Borough after costs for schools, garbage, and sewage would still see a surplus in revenue of approximately $100,000.00 a year. The number of students would have to grow to aproximately 22 or three times the projected amount before there would be a negative impact on the tax base.
RiverEdgeNewJersey December 01, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Shouldn't this come before the Zoning Board and not the Council? Seems like they are trying to cut corners in order to expedite the project.
Alphonse Bartelloni December 02, 2011 at 12:09 AM
After a first reading of the ordinance it would go to the Planning Board. No corners are being cut.
RiverEdgeNewJersey December 02, 2011 at 01:50 PM
What about the cost to educate special needs children? Isn't that approximately $56,000 per child? Enroll 2 special needs kids into the district and your projected $100,000 a year revenue wouldn't cover that expense if this were the case.
RiverEdgeNewJersey December 02, 2011 at 03:01 PM
Mr. Bartelloni, you have gone unusually quiet on this subject. Who is this developer and what do you know about them?
Wendy Walker December 02, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Why would you change the ordinance to eliminate the variances needed for a developer? Let it go to the zoning board and they will do their due diligence. If the ordinance is changed the planning board is only doing the site plan review, no significant variances will be needed. The overlay zone for 55 and over was done to eliminate the uncertainty of the impact to the schools if the multifamily units were rentals or condos and the main zoning is for single family homes. When a developer asks the council to change an ordinance for them they know it will be a struggle in the zoning or planning board. The owner of the old Delford Flower location tried in the council and did not get consensus and said they would not go to the zoning board knowing it would be a struggle.
RiverEdgeNewJersey December 02, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Ms. Walker is correct in her statement regarding Zoning. It appears this developer wants to bypass Zoning scrutiny and head straight to Planning Board. Why the rush? Why not wait until Jan?
GGT December 03, 2011 at 03:38 PM
In my opinion the developer is in a hurry because they paid so much for the property, and have decided they can no longer sit with it. If they get the financing they figure they can move ahead now. However there will be no demand for 55 and older, and probably very little demand as condos period. Lets not forget it is Kinderkamack Rd!!!! There would be demand for rentals however. I am sure the developer would rather sell them, but at least as rentals there would be cash cominmg in. Keep in mind public records indicate that the developer paid 1,600,000.00!!!!! for the property in August fo 2005. They purchased it right around the peak of the real estate bubble. Just to demonstrate the madness of that bubble, the prior sales price of that property was 500K in 1999!!! It would appear to me at this point that the developer would not want to sit with this albatross forever. Just as an aside property taxes are around 23K a year so they have that cost as well. Finally lets keep in mind 46 units is alot with the potential for alot more kids in the school. In addition to that we have the NJ Transit Village (whenever that is built) with another 130 housing units. As well there were plans to develop the Let it Grow property with another 60 or 70 condos, as well as another plan to develop the old ALi's carpet property on the side of Rt 4. So potentially we have anywhere from 250 to 300 more multi faming units that may be built in town. We wont be a small suburb any more.
GGT December 03, 2011 at 03:40 PM
But rather a small city with even higher property taxes due to the very real possibility of large impact on school enrollment with all of these units that may be built.

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