Jul 29, 2014

Builder to Increase Development Size

The riverfront redevelopment property may gain 18 new apartments on an entirely new floor.

Builder to Increase Development Size

Another development set to rise up in downtown Cranford might be growing a little larger.

The Township Committee voted 4-1 Tuesday night introducing an ordinance that if passed would allow the developer Garden Homes to add 18 more apartment units to the Riverfront Redevelopment area, making a total of 124 proposed units. Three units would qualify as affordable housing and sold under the market rate. 

The units will make up an entirely new fourth floor on one of the five buildings that will be contructed on 3.5 acres of South Avenue by Chestnut Street across from the train station.

In turn Cranford Township will receive about $700,000 in sewer and parking "impact fees" that officials say will be used to offset township costs. 

Mayor Daniel Aschenbach added during the meeting that he supports the initiative due to Cranford's unability to settle tax appeals months earlier due to lack of funds.

“It does have density that I was not in favor of and I am having trouble getting my arms around that, except for a few months ago the Township couldn’t pay its bills,” Aschenbach added.

Commissioner Kevin Campbell also told Patch that a $1.1 million suit against the town filed by the developer is yet another reason to gather funds in reserve – in case they are needed for court.

The developer suit alleges that Cranford Township did not give adequate compensation to the developer for extra addends like the roof cupola, according to township attorney Daniel McCarthy. The suit is currently in arbitration.

"I believe it's in the best interest of Cranford to make this amendment," Campbell said as he introduced the bill in town hall.

 The Township Committee will hold a public hearing for this ordinance on June 14, when residents are invited to share their opinions.

The five Riverfront Redevelopment buildings have been in the planning stage since 2007. Along with apartment units, the five buildings will also hold commercial establishments, both retail and offices, according to Zoning Officer Robert Hudak. 

This project is the second downtown development in recent years taken under the wing of the Township Committee, which controls the construction plan. To significantly edit development plans, Garden Homes must ask the Township Committee to pass legislation.

The first such redevelopment project steered by the Township Committee was Cranford Crossing, two similar buildings featuring retail and apartment units near the train station plus an adjacent garage.

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