16-acres of economic segregation

From the New Jersey Herald:

Fredon lifts veil from revised plan

Revisions to the proposed master plan, many based on a subcommittee’s work this fall, will be discussed by the town’s Planning Board when it meets tonight, the discussion will not have a public input segment.

“This will not be an open public (comment) session,” explained Planning Board Chairman George Green. “I realize this is a very emotionally-charged issue in this town. The public will have a chance to talk (about) the plan at a later date.”

In late summer, town residents filled a Planning Board meeting to complain about facets of the proposed master plan which included a provision for a 16-acre minimum lot size. At the time, Green publicly agreed the plan had flaws and set up a subcommittee to meet with the board and present concerns from the public.

“We met with the (Planning) Board three times,” said Peter Southway, a dairy farmer. “But I don’t know what the report will say. I haven’t been told anything.”

Many landowners were upset about various aspects of the plan, including a proposed 16-acre lot size which, they said, takes away from the value of their land. Currently, much of that same land is zoned for six-acre lots.

The master plan does permit smaller lot sizes, but only if the remaining property is left undeveloped. Southway said one of the subcommittee recommendations was a sliding scale approach which would allow a developer to cluster houses, townhouses or condos into a higher density provided there is enough open space.

“Let’s face it. The 16-acre requirement is creating economic segregation,” he said. “We’re saying, ‘If you can afford to build a house on 16 acres, you’re OK to move in. Nobody is going to put up a ‘starter’ on 16 acres.”

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