Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tenafly Nears Agreement on Special-Needs Housing

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tenafly Nears Agreement on Special-Needs Housing

Article excerpt

TENAFLY -- The borough is likely to turn over property at 311 Tenafly Road to Bergen County's United Way for construction of special-needs housing, officials said.

The council is set to vote on final approval of an ordinance calling for the borough to deed the property to United Way on Aug. 19, said Mayor Peter Rustin. The move is what United Way needs "to get their financing together to build the project," Rustin said.

The project would benefit Tenafly, said Rustin, citing growing demand for special-needs housing.

"Tenafly has a significant special-needs population and many of them are capable of living independently. Tenafly residents will get first dibs," Rustin said, adding that the project also will help the borough meet state mandates to promote more low- and moderate- income housing.

The borough has been in talks for months about construction of an eight-unit building in cooperation with United Way, a non-profit that builds housing for disabled and low-income residents statewide. It has built projects in Allendale, Ramsey and Fairview.

Borough officials said they did not want the local government to run a special-needs home and would prefer to have that work done by professionals.

The borough bought the property for $999,000 in January with funds from the state Council on Affordable Housing. The project has received all necessary environmental and land-use approvals, said Rustin.

The plan calls for an independent living facility. Applicants must have a diagnosed developmental disability and demonstrate an ability to live independently and without supervision and meet requirements for low-income housing, said Tom Toronto, president of Bergen County's United Way.

What's next

The project -- a one-story dwelling that will blend with the community's architectural character -- will cost $900,000 to $1.1 million to build, Toronto estimated. "We expect it to look like a typical Tenafly residence," he said.

The money will be raised through a combination of state funding, the Housing Mortgage Finance Agency and Community Development funding through Bergen County's government.

Toronto said the next step is to develop a site plan application for presentation to the Planning Board around September, with potential groundbreaking in the fall and possible completion date in the spring or summer 2014. …

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