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Planning Board Recommends Approval of Riverfront Development Project Amendment

The motion passed 5-4 after nearly four hours of discussion.

After an exhausting meeting lasting close to four hours, the Cranford Planning Board recommended the approval of the 4th amendment to the Riverfront Redevelopment Plan. The ordinance passed 5-4.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Victor Furmanec of Beacon Planning fielded questions from the Board and residents, who raised concerns that the plan would compromise Cranford’s small-town charm. The Board also worried the proposed fourth floor of apartment buildings was inconsistent with the township's Master Redevelopment Plan.

The Riverfront Redevelopment Project proposes the construction of five mixed residential and retail buildings on the 3.5 acres on South Avenue by Chestnut Street, across from the Cranford train station. Ordinance 2011-18 was introduced at the April 26th Town Committee meeting following a 4-1 vote., the ordinance would allow the developer Garden Homes to add 18 more apartment units to the development area, making a total of 124 proposed units. The units will make up an entirely new fourth floor on one of the five buildings.

Mayor Daniel Aschenbach, , stated that the proposal would generate $80,000 in property taxes, create affordable housing and provide $756,000 in unrestricted funds for the township in impact fees. The Township Committee will hold a public hearing at their meeting on June 14th before putting the ordinance to a final vote.

Patch will have a full write up of the evening, outlining the hot topics and specifics of the Riverfront Redevelopment Plan, later today. Stay tuned. 

Mary Stockwood June 02, 2011 at 10:28 AM
I was surprised that this important meeting was not on TV35. Disgraceful.
Theresa June 02, 2011 at 12:16 PM
I wonder how many of the new apartments have to be Section 8 by law- does anyone know? I also hope this doesn't negatively effect not only the downtown area (there goes sleepy Cranford) but our schools.
LuAnn June 02, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Of course it will effect our schools! Out of 124 units who knows how many will have school age children. Sleepy Cranford is now a thing of the past with this broad acceptance to development. But of course I am forgetting the over 1 million we spent to save the Solomon Schecter property. We will never make up that cost.
AM June 02, 2011 at 05:48 PM
As a resident of a downtown apartment it is interesting to read the comments. I'm not sure where the Section 8 comment was leading, but I probably spend more money in Cranford than the average family income in Cranford (not all apartment dwellers are section 8, and not all section 8 recipients are bad people). And as for the schools, why would my kid attending a Cranford school have any negative impact on "your" schools? Can't be overpopulation, census results show that a very low percentage of apartments in Cranford have school age children (so maybe another 10-20 kids spread over many grades/classrooms). At least my kid doesn't have biased, closed-minded parents.
Theresa June 02, 2011 at 07:09 PM
AM, for someone who interpreted my question to be biased and close-minded, let me explain to you why I ask. First, I was honestly curious, I don't know if its a percentage or numerical value of total apartments. Second, as a former apartment dweller and with a neighbor who rents the home near us as Section 8, it has a lot of effects on the community. It is subsidized housing- which means the costs are put back to the taxpayer, me. That is a concern. If there are 10 units going for $1000 less a month, than that needs to be made up somewhere in the overall budget. So while you call me close minded, I actually wasn't thinking of "bad people", your words by the way. Additionally, the school effect is related to this- of the new students, how many will be Section 8 and require things such as free meals, for example, something that does come back to the taxpayer yet again. Lastly, there are certain protections Section 8 renters receive including an almost impossible ability to evict. The Ledger just ran a piece about this, a 50 something man and family, haven't paid rent in years but as Section 8, they remain. My previously mentioned neighbor's home is the worst kept home on the block, from garbage on the front lawn to the Christmas Tree sitting outside and two shopping carts, and a loose dog running loose, we have had police, health department, etc all visiting. She is one example but let's be honest- developing new apartments does not help the value of homes in town at all.
Mary Stockwood June 05, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Did anyone else notice that the 5-4 Planning Board vote included Cambell & Aschenbach's votes? Yes votes: Aschenbach, Campbell, Illing, Feder and Wischusen. The first two voted to refer the project to themselves on the Township Committee , where they get to vote YES again.

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