Williams Nursery says so ‘s reservation orders for the 2022 season.
WESTFIELD, NJ – A plan to increase the housing density planned for the Williams Nursery site received Planning Council approval earlier this week.
The measure approved by the planning board on Monday increases the authorized density at the nursery, 524 Springfield Ave., from 20 units per acre to 24.6 units per acre to allow 162 “dwelling units” on the 6.61 acres. . The number of affordable housing units on the site will increase from 26 to 32, as part of the measure.
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The six affordable apartment increase for the site of what is now the Williams Nursery comes as the city moves units that would have been built on the Handler Building site at 608 North Avenue East to the nursery site , according to plans. The numbers are guided by an affordable housing settlement agreement the city entered into with the Fair Share Housing Center in 2017.
“We are really shifting the affordable housing obligation from one site to another,” said city planner Donald Sammet. “It is important that I stress that the city’s affordable housing obligations do not increase with this change in the plan.
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As the city zoned the location for housing, Williams Nursery owner David Williams told TAPinto Westfield the garden center is here to stay next year.
“We currently have no closure plan,” Williams said in an email. “We are currently in the process of reserving our orders for the 2022 season.”
The nursery has been in Westfield since 1920, and originally included 13 acres of land, according to the website for Williams Nursery & The Gift House.
The ordinance, which is expected to be approved by city council after a second reading and a public hearing on Tuesday, says that while the Handler building is unlikely to be developed for residential purposes, “there is had an interest in the development of the Williams nursery site ”.
At a public affordable housing forum on Monday, Sammet said, the site has been part of the city’s affordable housing plans since the 1990s.
“As a private nursery, I think we need to include it in our realistic development potential as a site where affordable housing could be built,” he said.
Mayor Shelley Brindle said the city was able to negotiate the transfer with the Fair Share Housing Center because Westfield is seen as “a role model” when it comes to meeting its affordable housing obligations.
“We have enough credibility with them to work with us to make these kinds of amendments happen,” said Brindle.
While approval of the measure is almost certain on Tuesday, it will likely come with a “no” vote by the only Republican on city council. City councilor Mark LoGrippo had opposed the local law when city council introduced it last month.
“I am opposed to the increased density at the Williams nursery site,” LoGrippo told city council on March 25. Meet. “The site plan will be tabled this year, and I am not in favor of increasing the density.
Also on Tuesday, city council is expected to give final approval to a financial deal with the developer of Westfield Crossing, a 193-unit development on the Garwood border.
This payment in lieu of tax agreement would require the developer to pay an annual fee to Westfield in exchange for Westfield’s tax exemption for 30 years. City experts said PILOTE is a must to make the project – which includes affordable housing – financially feasible.
While critics of the PILOT plan have noted that development money will not reach local public schools, a financial expert hired by the city last month estimated that the new apartments would bring just 24 schoolchildren to the district.
The city council is due to meet via Zoom on Tuesday, June 15, when it will hold public hearings on the two measures. The workshop begins at 7 p.m., with the legislative session following at 8 p.m. Click here for meeting login information.
Email Matt Kadosh at email@example.com | Twitter: @MattKadosh
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