Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dumont OKs Affordable-Housing Pact

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dumont OKs Affordable-Housing Pact

Article excerpt

DUMONT -- A settlement reached on Tuesday between the borough and state's leading affordable-housing advocate will give rise to drastic over-development of the downtown, according to its most outspoken critics.

Under a zoning change that the Borough Council must adopt as part of the deal, four-story, 48-foot-tall buildings potentially could go up in the center of the business district.

The council will have to create an overlay zone encompassing 52 downtown acres. The tallest buildings would be allowed along West Shore Avenue and at the intersection of Madison and Washington avenues.

The new zone also would permit an increase in housing density in those spots.

But, in a community already densely populated, some residents say such a change in zoning could turn the borough of Dumont into another borough of New York City.

According to the latest Census data from 2010, the borough, which covers less than 2 square miles, ranks 12th out of 70 towns in the county in terms of population density. Figures show roughly 8,815 citizens per square mile.

"The decisions that have been made by this council are sending us on a path toward becoming Queens or Brooklyn," said Rachel Bunin, a resident of Poplar Street.

A second clause in the settlement with Cherry Hill-based Fair Share Housing requires the council to adopt an ordinance establishing that all future development include affordable-housing units. Fifteen percent of units in a rental project, and 20 percent in projects made up of apartments for sale, would have to be for low- to moderate-income households.

Borough Attorney Gregg Paster said a fairness hearing, likely to be held before a judge in state Superior Court in late September, is the next step in the settlement process.

As long as the court sanctions the agreement, the council must introduce ordinances within four months to amend the borough's code with respect to affordable housing and zoning. …

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