Little Silver Affordable Housing Plan Moving Forward

August 7, 2018
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The Builders’ General property at 15 Sycamore Ave. is one of seven Little Silver properties that will have new zoning overlays for affordable housing developments. A settlement agreement on the proposed plan is set for Sept. 11.

By Jay Cook |

LITTLE SILVER – A settlement agreement has been struck for the borough’s affordable housing obligations.

Per the agreement, Little Silver is on the hook for 230 new affordable housing credits. Different types of housing options are worth varying credit amounts.

But due to the lack of available vacant land, its realistic development potential is only 21 units.

Seven properties near Little Silver’s NJ Transit train station will also have new zoning overlays that would allow for more affordable housing if future developments come to town.

“At the end of the day, no town, including Little Silver, is ever going to be pleased with the settlements of these lawsuits,” Little Silver Mayor Bob Neff told The Two River Times Wednesday. “I think we did as well as reasonably expected given the really crazy numbers there are for each town’s supposed fair share.”

Little Silver and Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC), a nonprofit group representing low-to-moderate income families, came to the agreement and will finalize the covenant at a Sept. 11 fairness hearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Jamie S. Perri in Freehold.

“Affordable housing agreements with communities like Little Silver are really important because you’re talking about some of the wealthiest towns in the state with a whole lot of opportunities for families,” FSHC spokesperson Anthony Campisi told The Two River Times. “At the same time, it’s really difficult for working people to live there.”

Eight of the 21 units are already constructed at the Carriage Gate townhomes and the borough will also receive three smart growth bonus credits for that development, as well.

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Little Silver will also begin an accessory apartment program with public funding to address the remaining 10 units. Those apartments, which could be built over a garage or added on to a single-family home, will only be allowed along sections of Rumson Road and Church Street.

Permitted are two very-low-income units with a $50,000 public subsidy, three low-income units with $40,000 public subsidies and five moderate-income units with $30,000 public subsidies.

The accessory apartment program “is a way to address the affordable housing need in a town where there might not be a whole lot of open space,” Campisi said.

The plan also lays the groundwork for any future development that would occur in Little Silver to address an unmet need of 406 credits. It could come from townhome or condominium construction.

Here’s a breakdown of the seven locations and their permitted housing densities if a project were to occur there:

• Little Silver Tennis Club, 100 Birch Ave.: 9 residential units per acre.
• NJ Transit Train Station Parking Lot, Oceanport Avenue: 15 residential units per acre.
• Intersection of Oceanport Avenue and Eastview Avenue: 11 residential units per acre.
• Intersection of Birch Street and Branch Street: 11 residential units per acre.
• Builders’ General, 15 Sycamore Ave.: 13 residential units per acre.
• Prospect Avenue P2 Zone District, across from fire station: 9 residential units per acre.
• Wicker Rose Property, 1 Sycamore Ave: 11 residential units per acre.***

Those seven locations were attractive because of their close proximity to the train station, Campisi said. But he did note development is not guaranteed.

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“Not every town has access to transit or even a downtown, but if you’re talking about a borough like Little Silver that does, we’ll look at developments that reduce sprawl, reduce the need to drive as much and expand transit access,” he said.

This plan would address Little Silver’s affordable housing plans through July 2025.

Mayor Bob Neff announced in his monthly newsletter column there will be a special meeting Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at borough hall to discuss and take questions about these obligations. Little Silver’s affordable housing counsel and planner will be present.

Neff could not be reached for comment by press time Wednesday.

Little Silver began negotiations with FSHC back in 2015 to protect itself from a “builder’s remedy” lawsuit. That’s when a developer proposes housing projects in towns that haven’t reached an affordable housing agreement.

The fairness hearing is set for Sept. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the Monmouth County Courthouse, 71 Monument St., Freehold.

Any objections to the settlement agreement must be filed in writing together with copies of any supporting affidavits or documents on or before Aug. 28, 2018, with the Hon. Jamie S. Perri, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County Courthouse, PO Box 1266, Freehold, NJ 07728.

Duplicate copies must be forwarded by mail or email to Adam Gordon, counsel for Fair Share Housing Center at 510 Park Blvd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 or adamgordon@fairsharehousing.org; Michael J. Edwards, counsel of Little Silver, at Jeffrey R. Surenian and Assoc. LLC, 707 Union Ave., Suite 301, Brielle, NJ 08730 or mje@surenian.com; and Special Master Michael Bolan, PP/AICP, at 104 Howard Way, PO Box 295, Pennington, NJ 08534 or michaelbolan@verizon.net.


This article first appeared in the August 2 -9, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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