Affordable housing passes board, heads to council – Star News Group


BRADLEY BEACH — The Bradley Beach Planning Board has approved its affordable housing measure, in an effort to be ahead of state-mandated requirements.

The board voted to approve the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan remaps zoning areas in the borough to accommodate affordable housing. John Weber, Class I Member and Mayor Gary Engelstad’s designee to the board, explained that the council reviewed the Affordable Housing plan at its Feb. 28 meeting, but found discrepancies and threw it back to the planning board, requiring last week’s special meeting.

This approved plan should head to council next week for final approval and adoption, according to Councilman Weber.

“We talked about it and we passed it with no major changes,” he said. “We were looking at splitting two zones at the end of town and just allow taller buildings on the west side of Main Street but then we realized we were going to have six different zones in town.

“What we ended up doing was just creating an affordable housing overlay zone in all of those zones so the west side of Main Street — in each of those zones — is an affordable housing overlay zone,” he said.

He also said the board revised height requirements, lowering them in the new affordable housing zones because the plan allows for an extra story to be built.

“We didn’t want these buildings too tall,” said Mr. Weber. “We finally did it. I’m not really sure why it took this long but we finally got it done and it’s pretty good, I think.”

At a March special meeting, the board revised the zoning areas to overlay on either ends of town, called the O-P [Office and Professional] and B-O-R [Business, Office, and Research] zones, according to the ordinance.

That means, once approved by the council, the areas O-P and B-O-R will become affordable housing zones in addition to their current zoning purposes. The O-P Zone spans over Main Street from Bradley Boulevard north to Monmouth Avenue while the B-O-R Zone includes the western corner of Main Street and western side of Lawrence Avenue.

Mr. Weber explained that Bradley Beach is taking a “proactive” approach to the affordable housing plan, which is a state requirement borough’s must zone for.

“We want to come up with our own plan to allow for affordable homes to be built in our town,” he said.

According to the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, “affordable housing” is defined, according to Page 11, Section 6, as “an affordable sales price for a three-person moderate-income household earning 80 percent of the median income is estimated at approximately $166,700. This estimate is based upon the UHAC affordability controls outlined in N.J.A.C. 5:80-26.3. In 2014, the percentage of housing units in the Borough valued at less than $200,000 was 5.6 percent.”

While, for renter-occupied homes, “an affordable monthly rent for a three-person household is estimated at approximately $1,650. According to the most recent US Census data, approximately 83 percent of the Borough’s rental units had a gross rent less than $1,500.”

The 165 page document can be found on the Bradley Beach website under the November Planning Meeting, Minutes, and Agenda page.

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