Affordable housing debate in Moorestown

February 2, 2009 4:15:36 PM PST
Ten acres of land in Burlington County located in an affluent community are also in the middle of an affordable housing debate.Moorestown is an affluent township and, like most throughout New Jersey, has been required to build affordable housing.

In an effort to meet the latest state regulations, Moorestown devised a plan to build over 400 low and moderate income housing units in the next decade including 50 rental units on the 10 acre Maybury tract, along Westfield Road and Sheffield Drive.

Residents of the nearby upscale neighborhoods have a problem with the plan.

"We have a lot traffic issues in this neighborhood already; there are environmental concerns because there are significant wetlands," resident Natalie Fleming aid.

"People use our neighborhood to cut through, to the point where my 10-year-old daughter who sits here at the bus stop yells at cars to slow down, so traffic is definitely a concern," resident Christine Blessing said.

Moorestown owns the tract and it has been zoned for low to moderate income housing for more than 20 years.

In that time though, well to do developments have sprung up, with some homes assessed at up to 1 million dollars.

Mayor Daniel Roccato says revised regulations by the state council on affordable housing say towns must provide 1 unit of affordable housing for every 5 homes built, but he agrees this site might not be appropriate.

"We will go back as we've already started and look for better more creative alternative ways to meet the obligation, but we will meet the obligation, no doubt," Mayor Daniel Rocatto said.

Residents say if the state approves the plan to built rental units on this site they will present their arguments and concerns and go to court if need be.

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