Edison slated to clear way for Mount Laurel housing

Change will allow 300 housing units on Woodbridge Ave.


Staff Writer

Edison may rezone a portion of Woodbridge Avenue this month to allow 300 affordable-housing units in an area that is currently zoned for commercial or light industrial use.

The Township Council is scheduled to hold public hearings on three different affordable-housing ordinances at its Dec. 22 regular council meeting.

One of the ordinances would change the zoning on Woodbridge Avenue to allow the 300 housing units, according to Rainone. The housing units will be either townhouses or apartments with 45 of the apartments to be designated as affordable housing.

The township needs more affordable-housing units to meet its state-imposed requirements, Rainone said.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge James P. Hurley, sitting in New Brunswick, ordered the township to change its zoning to allow the affordable-housing at a hearing on Nov. 10, Rainone said. The court gave the township 60 days to make all needed changes in the necessary laws.

All of the regulations must be passed in order to make the township’s zoning laws compliant with state laws, Rainone said.

If the regulations are not passed, developers could file builders-remedy lawsuits that would allow them to build affordable housing anywhere within the township without approval from the local government, he said.

If the plan is approved by all boards, the township’s affordable-housing obligations will have been met and the township "can’t be sued by anyone in the next six years because we haven’t met our Mount Laurel obligations," Rainone said.

All three ordinances, originally scheduled for a public hearing on Dec. 10, will have hearings on Mon., Dec. 22 to ensure the Planning and Zoning Boards have enough time to comment on the measures, said Rainone.

The ordinances must be passed by the end of the year, Rainone said.

The other two ordinances are copies of state Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) ordinances that must be passed in this round of Mount Laurel housing requirements, he said.

The township is currently trying to meet the state requirements for its second round of Mount Laurel obligations.

The ordinances set out what affordable housing means, who is eligible, and how the housing will be marketed, according to Rainone.

"They reaffirm COAH’s ordinances," Rainone said.