BRIELLE — At Monday night’s meeting, resident concerns regarding affordable housing in the borough surfaced during the open public comment session.
Brielle resident David Eareckson asked the council questions regarding affordable housing requirements in the borough, while referencing public records the borough has issued on its plan created by proposed developer H2M.
“Most of the confusion that I hear in the town is about what the town’s obligation is, and there’s a bunch of talk about 14 units,” said Mr. Eareckson. “I just want to make sure that I’m reading this report correctly in that the 14 units is only the realistic development potential in the report.”
Mr. Eeareckson questioned whether the borough’s obligation for affordable housing units is 365.
Borough Attorney Nicolas Montenegro said he believed 354 units is the number.
“This report says the unmet need is 340 affordable housing units which means that in order to generate 340 [affordable housing units], with a 20% set aside, we would need to build 1,700 units, is that correct?” asked Mr. Eareckson.
Mr. Montenegro said that he could not answer that.
Mr. Eareckson highlighted the vacant land assessment, stating that according to the report, there are three available options for the development, but that overall the borough completely lacks a fair share plan for how it will address affordable housing requirements.
He expressed concern with the unaddressed builder’s remedy lawsuit, saying that “something needs to be done quickly before more come along” and asked the council what they were actively doing to address the need for affordable housing units in the borough. The lawsuit was filed in February of 2022 by M&D Two LLC, a local land developer, after the borough’s denial of an application to construct a 22-unit townhouse development at the former location of Grieco.
“We are dealing with it and I’ll say this again, we are not going to be the first community to ever be in litigation over this type of an issue,” said Brielle Mayor Thomas Nicol. “We’re dealing with it and it’s in litigation and we’re looking out for the best interest of the borough.”
As a follow up, another resident inquired how resident’s tax dollars were involved and to what expense, in regards to the borough’s lawsuit fight.
This figure was not available by the borough during the meeting, according to Mr. Montenegro.
Mr. Nicol said that he could not comment any more on the matter.
COPY OF PLAN BY H2M ARCHITECTS + ENGINEERS
The Coast Star requested and received a copy of the Housing Element & Fair Share Plan prepared by H2M architects + engineers for the Borough of Brielle. You can view a copy here.
The Coast Star is pursuing interpretation of this document from Brielle officials and H2M.
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