Updated Redevelopment Ordinance Introduced By Township Council

An updated redevelopment ordinance that makes major changes to the Churchill-Millstone redevelopment area was introduced at the January 26 Township Council meeting.

The Churchill-Millstone redevelopment area is part of the Renaissance 2000 Redevelopment Plan.

The changes, which were negotiated by the township Redevelopment Agency and the redeveloper, RPM, over the course of a couple of years, reduces the housing density in the area, mandates a certain percentage of open space and calls for a mix of housing styles and price points, among other things.

The Churchill-Millstone redevelopment area is roughly bordered by Hamilton Street and State Route 27, north of Franklin Boulevard.

The project has been in development for more than a decade, and is one of three redevelopment areas in the township.

Mark Healey, the township’s principal planner, said the revised ordinance just codifies what’s already in the redevelopment agreement for the project.

The new ordinance:

  • Lowers the overall permitted density from the current 50 units per acre throughout the Churchill-Millstone Redevelopment Area to 28 units per acre.
  • Requires 20 percent of open space within each phase, and requires that the developer follow the “Open Space Framework Plan” in the Redevelopment Agreement.
  • Sets the limit of affordable housing at 20 percent to create a more mixed-income community. This percentage was factored into the township’s affordable housing plan.
  • Encourages and allows a broader range of housing types
  • Takes the terms of the Redevelopment Agreement and incorporates them into the redevelopment ordinance, making the designated redeveloper obligated by the Agreement and by the ordinance.
  • Guarantees that a successor developer would be obligated to the terms of the redevelopment ordinance.

The ordinance was discussed at the January 25 Redevelopment Agency meeting, where Township Councilman Carl Wright (D-Ward 4), an agency Commissioner, reiterated his long-held critiques of the plan’s open space provisions.

Wright has argued in the past that RPM was not providing enough recreational area in their plans, and he brought that criticism up again in a discussion about one of the plan’s phases.

Wright also expressed concern about a part of teh plan that has a townhouse building built between a single family home and a fenced-in area. RPM representative Richard Martoglio said that the company was not able to buy those two parcels.

“You have the house on one side, and the fenced-in area on the other side, what happens to those bookends?” Wright asked. “If you can’t acquire those sites, what happens?”

“We hope to acquire them, I don’t know what else to say,” Martoglio said. “That’s part of our overall vision of the area. We can’t force anyone to sell to us.”

The ordinance will be up for a second reading and final adoption on March 26.

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