Commissioners amend zoning code for pending affordable-housing project

New legislation geared toward meeting requirements for Snowden development.

Haddonfield’s board of commissioners moved the borough another step closer to fulfilling its affordable-housing requirements at its latest public meeting.

During the Jan. 19 virtual session, the governing body unanimously approved, upon first reading, an ordinance that amends an existing code governing land development. 

The amendment acts, in effect, as an overlay code to pave the way for construction of the Snowden project, which is targeted for 20 affordable units on a parcel of land less than an acre in size behind borough hall.

According to language in the amendment, the purpose of the overlay is to allow for medium and high density multifamily residential construction, as otherwise allowed by previously identified base zoning districts, to pave the way for development in accordance with the borough’s agreement with Fair Share Housing.  

In addition, the new code dictates that any new residential development located within the boundaries of the overlay will have 100 percent of total units designated for affordable housing, as previously defined in a Chapter 63 borough code that deals specifically with state-mandated guidelines.  

Also outlined in the code is that the total construction is limited to three stories,  with a roofline maximum of 45 feet in height, as well as allowances for 1.5 parking spaces per unit. 

With stormwater outflow still a hot-button topic, as well as the density and location of the proposed housing, public comment arose during the meeting about safety concerns for the development itself and surrounding area.

“Having met with CIS (the borough’s chosen affordable housing developer Commnity Investment Strategies Inc.) recently, going over the site plan that they are working to finalize, I know that they do have a rain garden type of development on site,” noted Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough. 

“They are also looking to discharge stormwater out to Snowden, which would then go out to Haddon Avenue, which is the way it flows now. We looked at whether or not we could connect to our storm inlet in the municipal lot, but the slope is wrong. It’s actually up slope from where it would normally flow.”

Per Mayor Neal Rochford, second reading of the ordinance and further public comment is expected to take place at the commissioners’ next public session on Feb. 9. 

Concurrent with the zoning overlay, commissioners also approved a resolution to allow the borough’s newly formed nonprofit, E&B Housing LLC, to apply for and receive funding from the state’s Department of Community Affairs.

In a previous meeting, Commissioner for Public Safety Colleen Bezich stated that there was funding available, from Trenton, for projects involving smaller blocks of affordable units. McCullough later revealed the borough has received more than $4 million from DCA to be used for the proposed Snowden and Boxwood sites. 

In other news:

  • Commissioners issued a proclamation to recognize January as School Board Recognition Month, honoring the nine-member body that has been confronted with a difficult path since the pandemic began, and whose hard work and dedication since then has helped keep Haddonfield schools functioning well. Board Vice President David Siedell and board member Justin Benford were present when Rochford presented the document. 
  • A resolution to participate in the Camden County Cooperative Pricing System for the delivery of various forms of calcium chloride to assist in road de-icing and snow removal was given unopposed consent.
  • Via unanimous consent, commissioners approved the following persons for the following positions with the borough: Colin Steward to the Haddonfield Police Department, effective Jan. 25; Peter Blau to the Library Board of Trustees for a term ending Dec. 31, 2025; Kaitlin Cleary to the Human Relations Commission and Christina Bozarth as an alternate to the same, for terms ending May 31, 2021; and Stephanie Heim as Purchasing Agent,  effective through May 31, 2024.