HomeHaddonfield NewsBoard of commissioners tables zoning ordinance on affordable housing

Board of commissioners tables zoning ordinance on affordable housing

Governing body approves additional measures on stormwater issues.

Although ready to give final consent to an ordinance that would amend previous legislation relating to zoning codes for affordable housing, Haddonfield’s Board of Commissioners instead chose on Feb. 9 to defer action for at least one month. 

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During its previous public meeting on Jan. 19, the governing body unanimously approved the ordinance upon first reading; it amends an existing code governing land development. 

The amendment’s purpose is to act as an overlay code paving the way for construction of the Snowden project, targeted for 20 affordable units on a parcel of land behind borough hall. The overlay is necessary to allow for medium and high density multifamily residential construction, as otherwise allowed by previously identified base zoning districts, to ensure any development is 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 borough code that deals specifically with state-mandated guidelines.  

For ratification, per Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough, language in the amendment would have had to be reviewed and approved first by the borough’s planning board at its early February meeting. McCullough also stated that further delays in adoption may be related to amending additional language in the ordinance relating to a separate piece of legislation regarding stormwater management. 

“We wanted to get that out to the public, so they are aware of what’s going to occur,” McCullough said. 

Public comment against the ordinance centered around the excess of vehicles expected to pack the area once parking for the site is realized — not only from future Snowden residents, but also their guests and those who patronize businesses in that area. Also outlined in the code is that construction would include allowances for 1.5 parking spaces per unit. 

One resident called for the project to be halted until a traffic study was undertaken, as well as review by the borough’s historical society, since two sides of the plot are bounded by historic properties. 

Since the commissioners did not take action to approve the legislation, the next step is for the borough to seek counsel from the planning board, which does not meet again until March 2. The commissioners decided to table the adoption and seek further public comment during the scheduled public meeting on March 9. Two additional ordinances, also introduced and approved on first reading, are expected to have their second readings on that date. 

The aforementioned ordinance amendment will add language that compels the borough to keep up with current state regulations regarding “green” initiatives for stormwater runoff that do not involve running of pipes to divert water from residential areas into nearby water sources.

A third ordinance approved on first reading involved amending previous codes on “lot grading” that guide personal responsibility for stormwater discharge from any residence.  

“Several years ago, we put into motion a system where any improvements to stormwater on people’s properties would have to be, every two years, reviewed  to make sure there’s still maintenance to the property,” said Mayor Neal Rochford. 

“We were brought into court, there were people fighting us on that particular issue,” he added. “What we’re trying to do is amend our zoning ordinance so that we can continue to enforce the portions not in dispute.” 

Full descriptions of all three amendments can be found on the commissioners’ meeting agenda page at: https://tinyurl.com/5gs5ah7a

In other news:  

  • Commissioners approved the cancellation of 2021 taxes and a refund for fourth quarter 2020 taxes for two homes whose residents are totally disabled veterans. 
  • The triumvirate also authorized the signing of an agreement with Haddonfield resident Jennifer Johnston to become the borough’s Zoning Board of Adjustment solicitor. Frank Ryan had served in that position for the previous 10 years before deciding to retire.
Former radio broadcaster, hockey writer, Current: main beat reporter for Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and points beyond.

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