Rezoning Paves Way For Apts. At Routes 9 & 72

Stafford Township Council Meeting Room (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

STAFFORD – The township rezoned a section of land at the corner of routes 72 and 9 to be used for 84 single-family apartments for low to moderate income renters.

Paperwork from Township Attorney Jerry Dasti states the property will be called the Manahawkin Family Apartments.

The property is a wooded area behind the Holiday Inn. It’s adjacent to stores and bus stops. It fits a lot of the criteria that the Fair Share Housing Council looks at, Stafford Business Administrator James Moran said.

Every municipality in New Jersey is required to build a certain number of affordable housing units. This number is negotiated between the New Jersey Fair Share Housing Council and the town, with the Superior Court overseeing it. The number is based on the total number of residences in town. Many factors enter into the number, and the number frequently changes as regulations change.

The rezoning extends the MFAH-12 zone, which allows multi-family affordable housing dwellings such as apartments as long as long as the density is not greater than 12 units per acre.

The council approved the rezoning at its December 13 Township Council meeting. The resolution states the township had been approached by a developer to rezone certain properties in town in order to have the township meet its affordable housing requirements.

Stafford is one of several townships that settled with the Fair Share Housing Council as to its current obligation of affordable housing numbers.

This development will be the final notch in the settlement between the FSHC and the township. It will fulfill all the requirements for the town up until 2025, Mayor John Spodofora said.

There is a gap period in which the FSHC was not making requests of towns. Most towns are still expecting to be hit with more requirements that came out of that gap period. However, Spodofora said that there has been enough affordable housing built recently that even the gap period should be accounted for.

Route 9 Crosswalk

In other news, the township requested that the New Jersey Department of Transportation install a crosswalk in front of the library on Route 9.

“Every time we have an event, people are going back and forth,” Spodofora said. The council wants a designated crosswalk to discourage people from crossing at any spot.

Electricity Offer Declined

Stafford had previously gone out to bid, teaming up with Lacey Township, to purchase electricity at a lower rate for all residents, Stafford Business Administrator James Moran said. Atlantic Electric would still deliver the electricity, and that cost would not change. However, the electricity itself would come from outside bidders and could potentially save residents money.

The Council had to reject the bid that came in. The reason for the rejection is that Stafford is requiring any deal to create a savings of more than 10 percent to residents. This offer did not make the requisite, so the township is continuing to seek offers. Moran said Stafford will go back out to bid in the spring.

The township is currently in a similar deal that affects all municipal and school buildings, he added.