New Construction in South Orange

I'll add something.  Everyone is always **** that we can't keep good restaurants in town.  The best way to attract and keep good restaurants downtown is to have people living within walking distance.  Lots of people.  


FilmCarp said:

I'll add something.  Everyone is always **** that we can't keep good restaurants in town.  The best way to attract and keep good restaurants downtown is to have people living within walking distance.  Lots of people.  

 for the life of me I can't figure out what the bleeped word is.


drummerboy said:

FilmCarp said:

I'll add something.  Everyone is always **** that we can't keep good restaurants in town.  The best way to attract and keep good restaurants downtown is to have people living within walking distance.  Lots of people.  

 for the life of me I can't figure out what the bleeped word is.

 I'm guessing -"glum"


steel said:

drummerboy said:

FilmCarp said:

I'll add something.  Everyone is always **** that we can't keep good restaurants in town.  The best way to attract and keep good restaurants downtown is to have people living within walking distance.  Lots of people.  

 for the life of me I can't figure out what the bleeped word is.

 I'm guessing -"glum"

 I know that drummerboy is a NYT crossword fan, but it doesn't have to be four letters (or maybe it does.)  

complaining 

kvetching 

eta - Of course, then there wouldn't have been the need for the asteriks. 


Juniemoon said:






4) 1&2 BR apts DO attract people with CARS - often 2 cars if 2 adults live there.  Increased traffic blows my mind & wastes my time.  Try making a left onto Valley or R'wood or SOA bet. 3 & 5 PM -- w/ schools CLOSED!


juniemoon - Do you think that all of the traffic -  as a matter of fact, most of it or any of it - is because of the developments?  South Orange has a lot of traffic coming though it from the east, west, north and south. Have you ever seen the traffic heading north on Wyoming Ave. at rush hour in the morning - even when there is no school. 


sore?

blue?

edgy?

agog?

I **** up.


****, for F***s sake.


max_weisenfeld said:

 1) There is and long has been a shortage of childcare places in town.  There is unmet demand and private money is (as it should be) now funding development of more classrooms.  Also, the school district has committed to 100% availability of free pre-k (only during school hours so not a replacement for childcare) but does not have enough classrooms.  The district is contracting with private preschools to provide classrooms, creating more demand.

2)  They might, or they might buy houses.

3)  If not, should they simply eliminate retail spaces?  Many of the building being replaced were mixed use, mixed use is a common solution in small cities throughout the country, and is generally very successful.  Why wouldn't it be so here?

4) Not really a valid argument, not really true, either, as these are quite close to the train which often allows people to use fewer cars.  But the argument can also be made that limiting parking, as these developments do, make car ownership less attractive and reduces car use.

5) This one is just plain silly and I don't think you mean it seriously.

 True, the last one was a bit tongue in cheek, in response to other comments that sounded like having children at home while working was the new normal and will go on forever.  We'll get back to normal with kids at school eventually.

Use of office space WILL change forever due to Covid.  Working from home, which was still often sneered at when I did it one day a week decades ago, has become a way of life.  Many companies are consid-ering not paying rent on some or all of their office space.  Employees have become faamiliar with communicating virtually, getting their commuting time back and not being squeezed into NJT cattle cars.  Commercial Realtors are hemorrhaging, and actually looking at converting some space into residences.

I was assured years ago that building apts and providing paths for seniors to "age in place" was going to ease school crowding, school budget pressure & traffic in town.  If there's long been and continues to be unmet need for pre-school space, I guess the joke's on me & the rest of us who believed what we were told.

Have you not experienced a frustrating increase in traffic???  Americans will be loathe to give up their cars in the suburbs at least until Millennials begin spawning (albeit in overall smaller numbers.)

The train doesn't go to Home Depot, & they're not gonna get that new vacuum home on a bike!  As long as Susie has a travel soccer game at the same time as Bobby's orthodontist appt., & Mom's book club meets the same night as Dad's band rehearsal, my belief is they'll have 2!  They fooled us on that one, too.

I never thought I'd get to feeling this way, but I'm ready to give in on building parking decks -- not tied to residences in the towns.  Millburn & Montclair have managed to add decks that are not obtrusive nor hideously ugly.  We might be able do that here if we don't get misled as we have on other assurances.  

You've no reason to trust me other than on what I've laid out here.  My bet is there are more cars.coming with any new apts built -- unless there's a bus route to Trader Joe's & Whole Foods ( which most residents wouldn't dream of using.)

I have no answer or theory as to why retail space stays empty or turns over so quickly you can't rely on any shop still being there next time you think to go.

But the thought of Maplewood Village with no grocery (or drug store?) in it puts a knot in my stomach.


cramer said:

juniemoon - Do you think that all of the traffic -  as a matter of fact, most of it or any of it - is because of the developments?  South Orange has a lot of traffic coming though it from the east, west, north and south. Have you ever seen the traffic heading north on Wyoming Ave. at rush hour in the morning - even when there is no school. 

 Well I've only lived in the area for 32 years, but have definitely seen an increase in density of traffic just in the last few years.  I've sat in stopped traffic on Valley St from SOA to 3rd St much, much more in the last few years (hmmmmm).

Of COURSE I haven't sat in traffic on Wyoming!  It's residential and there's been no development to speak of there since 1989.  (plus residents wouldn't stand for it.)  I remember the first time I saw solid traffic backed up from Valley St all the way past R'wood Rd.  Not that long ago.

Do you feel an increase in traffic?  Think they're all out-of-towners passing through?


My original post said nothing about whether 1 or 2 bedroom apartments bring in more kids.

It's all about the money. The school system misses out on a certain amount of revenue due to PILOTs, even when they are only five years.  The first year of a 5-year abatement is tax exempt and then the property taxes phase in years 2 through 5.  The school budget goes up EVERY year.  Homeowners are stuck holding the bag (for the most part in our two towns) to make up any difference.

Here is a helpful tutorial.

https://www.njsba.org/news-publications/school-leader/november-december-2017-volume-48-no-3/school-finance-overview-pilot-programs/


cramer said:

Formerlyjerseyjack said:

Are we getting screwed with the $18b in tax benefits to be given by the state to corporations that threaten to move out of N.J. ?

If the projects are such a win for the builders, would they still be built without the PILOT?

The developments that have been approved by South Orange while Sheena has been Village President have all had 20% affordable housing. In order to do this PILOTs must be given.

"Collum has long held that the key to overcoming segregation and providing affordable housing in South Orange township and other New Jersey suburbs is to promote multi-family housing developments that include affordable housing units or contribute to an affordable housing fund.

In spring 2019, in response to a SOMA Action candidate questionnaire, Collum wrote the following response regarding a question about South Orange’s affordable housing obligation:

Over the past two years, I have worked to redo our entire affordable housing compliance agreement undoing years of unrealistic zoning that would have never actually constructed affordable units. What has occurred in South Orange is a disgrace and has contributed to the segregation that exists throughout New Jersey. I have introduced ordinances that will require 1 in every 5 units developed to be for moderate and lower-income families. I also quadrupled payments for developers to construct units ‘off-site’ with a required 10% on-site in any new development. I am also proud to share that South Orange has not used a Vacant Land Adjustment in negotiating its fair share obligation. We were given a number and accepted it. I have laid out a path for this governing body and future governing bodies to actually hit numbers. This is an area during my term I am most proud of. Affordable housing advocates throughout the state frequently request my presence on panels and speaking engagement to take about our collective responsibilities as towns – particularly affluent towns – to make New Jersey more equitable. Housing is where it all starts. It will dictate access to transportation, quality government services, job opportunities, education, etc. Housing segregation and exclusionary zoning has created an absolute mess in this state and I will continue doing my role at the local, county, state and national levels as an advocate for affordable housing.”

https://villagegreennj.com/towns/south-orange/collum-south-orange-to-build-affordable-housing-despite-trump-move/


She has "introduced" ordinances but have they been passed yet?

I don't recall recent (past five years) developments having 20% affordable housing.  That's not accurate.

What does "off-site" housing mean?  It sounds like a loophole for the developers to avoid too many units in a development from being afforadable housing.


yahooyahoo said:

She has "introduced" ordinances but have they been passed yet?

I don't recall recent (past five years) developments having 20% affordable housing.  That's not accurate.

What does "off-site" housing mean?  It sounds like a loophole for the developers to avoid too many units in a development from being afforadable housing.

The development of the old Blockbuster site has 20% affordable housing. 

eta - A correction. There is 10% onsite affordable housing and 10% offsite affordable housing. 

"The developer will meet its affordable housing requirement by providing 10% of affordable units onsite and 10% offsite. The 10% offsite payment of $825,000 will be used for the Third Avenue affordable housing project (40 units) that the Village is building in conjunction with partners, according to Village President Sheena Collum."

https://villagegreennj.com/towns/south-orange/south-orange-approves-25-year-phased-tax-abatement-for-vose-avenue-project/

 


cramer said:

yahooyahoo said:

She has "introduced" ordinances but have they been passed yet?

I don't recall recent (past five years) developments having 20% affordable housing.  That's not accurate.

What does "off-site" housing mean?  It sounds like a loophole for the developers to avoid too many units in a development from being afforadable housing.

The development of the old Blockbuster site has 20% affordable housing. 

 

It's not built yet. I referred to recent (in the past 5 years) developments.


yahooyahoo said:

My original post said nothing about whether 1 or 2 bedroom apartments bring in more kids.

It's all about the money. The school system misses out on a certain amount of revenue due to PILOTs, even when they are only five years.  The first year of a 5-year abatement is tax exempt and then the property taxes phase in years 2 through 5.  The school budget goes up EVERY year.  Homeowners are stuck holding the bag (for the most part in our two towns) to make up any difference.

Here is a helpful tutorial.

https://www.njsba.org/news-publications/school-leader/november-december-2017-volume-48-no-3/school-finance-overview-pilot-programs/

I'll be honest that I did not consider that the school taxes paid by the prior user of the site are lost to the district during the period of the tax abatement for the new development. Presumably those lost taxes are made up by existing taxpayers during the period of the abatement, so you are right in that sense.

But... 

After the abatement period, which as noted is now much shorter than on past projects (5 years now versus sometimes 30 years in the past), significantly more school taxes are paid by the new larger development in perpetuity (or as long as the development exists) than were paid by the prior user of the site. That coupled with the fact that there are so few students added to the schools, makes multi-family development of 1-2BR apartments a financial win for the school district and the taxpayers in the long run.

Juniemoon's arguments about traffic are well-taken.  We've lived in town almost 22 years now and there is absolutely more traffic at rush hour.  Other hours are fine, in my opinion, and I think most would agree.  I can't opine whether the increased rush-hour traffic is due to new apartments or not, but given how close the apartments are to the station, I find it hard to believe that their residents are driving to the train station. Through traffic from other towns makes up 70% of our rush hour traffic per the Master Plan study - I'd point  there as the reason for increased traffic. I don't have any ideas how to solve that...

If you look at the latest draft of the Master Plan, there is great emphasis on walking, biking, and jitneys. Living about a mile up the hill toward the reservation, I find it unlikely that many will want to bike uphill on the way home from work. Likewise walking home uphill is not attractive on most days, especially bad weather days. The jitney is a dream going home, faster than parking and driving for me as I'm one of the first off.  In the morning, as I am one of the first to board the jitney,  it adds 20 minutes to my commute -10 minutes driving around town picking up other passengers and 10 more minutes than I allow for time waiting at the station, which makes the jitney unattractive to me. If the jitney alternative was faster in the morning, I'd definitely consider it.


I’ve been driving in Maplewood since 1992, there is a huge increase in traffic at all hours of the day, not just at rush hour.


The population of South Orange in 1970 was 16, 971. 

The population of South Orange in 2020 was 16,713  - down 258. 

Yet everybody complains that all of the traffic is because of the developments.

eta - A much larger percentage of the population commutes to New York because of the Midtown Direct. Some of the increased traffic during rush hour is no doubt because of commuters - both from South Orange as well as neighboring communities. But these commuters driving to the train station are from single famiky homes, and not develoments within walkng distance of the station. 


cramer said:

The population of South Orange in 1970 was 16, 971. 

The population of South Orange in 2020 was 16,713  - down 258. 

Yet everybody complains that all of the traffic is because of the developments.

eta - A much larger percentage of the population commutes to New York because of the Midtown Direct. Some of the increased traffic during rush hour is no doubt because of commuters - both from South Orange as well as neighboring communities. But these commuters driving to the train station are from single famiky homes, and not develoments within walkng distance of the station. 

 Exactly


"Yet everybody complains that all of the traffic is because of the developments."

Traffic patterns, specifically on South Orange Avenue, have changed significantly over the years. Maybe another study is needed.


I've seen complaints from people in Maplewood who are headed to South Orange Ave. blaming the traffic on Valley St. on the developments in South Orange.


As I understand it, property tax on the land is not abated under the PILOT agreement.  The PILOT agreement only covers the property tax on the improvements.  Given the state of the improvements on the properties that are getting the PILOTs, I question how great the loss is - even in year 1.  By year 6, the increase should more than start to make up for any loss from the prior five years.


Steve said:

As I understand it, property tax on the land is not abated under the PILOT agreement.  The PILOT agreement only covers the property tax on the improvements.  Given the state of the improvements on the properties that are getting the PILOTs, I question how great the loss is - even in year 1.  By year 6, the increase should more than start to make up for any loss from the prior five years.

In year 1, there is NO tax payment for the structure/building on that land.  The problem is that the other taxpayers in town make up the shortfall in year 1 and never get it back. Once the full improvements are phased in and taxed (admittedly at a higher rate than before the improvements), it is absorbed into higher budgets.  It does not "make up" for prior years. Homeowners do not receive any tax relief.  The homeowner benefit at that point is maybe their taxes increase by a little bit less.


yahooyahoo said:

In year 1, there is NO tax payment for the structure/building on that land.  The problem is that the other taxpayers in town make up the shortfall in year 1 and never get it back. Once the full improvements are phased in and taxed (admittedly at a higher rate than before the improvements), it is absorbed into higher budgets.  It does not "make up" for prior years. Homeowners do not receive any tax relief.  The homeowner benefit at that point is maybe their taxes increase by a little bit less.

But the land is still taxed at the regular rate.  What was the value of the improvements that were removed (were they even present at all) to make way for the new development in terms of tax payments?


Steve said:

yahooyahoo said:

In year 1, there is NO tax payment for the structure/building on that land.  The problem is that the other taxpayers in town make up the shortfall in year 1 and never get it back. Once the full improvements are phased in and taxed (admittedly at a higher rate than before the improvements), it is absorbed into higher budgets.  It does not "make up" for prior years. Homeowners do not receive any tax relief.  The homeowner benefit at that point is maybe their taxes increase by a little bit less.

But the land is still taxed at the regular rate.  What was the value of the improvements that were removed (were they even present at all) to make way for the new development in terms of tax payments?

They just tore town several buildings at the Blockbuster site.  My guess is that the value of those buildings represented a decent chunk of property taxes.  


Rather than guess, I'm sure the numbers are available somewhere.  It would also be good to look at the pro-forma numbers that I'm sure were submitted as part of the proposal.


yahooyahoo said:

Steve said:

yahooyahoo said:

In year 1, there is NO tax payment for the structure/building on that land.  The problem is that the other taxpayers in town make up the shortfall in year 1 and never get it back. Once the full improvements are phased in and taxed (admittedly at a higher rate than before the improvements), it is absorbed into higher budgets.  It does not "make up" for prior years. Homeowners do not receive any tax relief.  The homeowner benefit at that point is maybe their taxes increase by a little bit less.

But the land is still taxed at the regular rate.  What was the value of the improvements that were removed (were they even present at all) to make way for the new development in terms of tax payments?

They just tore town several buildings at the Blockbuster site.  My guess is that the value of those buildings represented a decent chunk of property taxes.  

 The development of the old Blockbuster site does not have a five-year PILOT. It has a 25-year PILOT. 

The five-year PILOTs are given developments in "Areas in need of Rehabiliation." This is where the taxes go up 20% a year until the sixth year when full taxes are paid. In this case, taxes are allocated to the town, schools and county in the same proportion they would have been allocated with normal taxes. 

In areas in need of redevlopment, PILOTs may be granted up to 30 years, and the NJ statute provides ways how much the payments will be. 95% goes to the town, and 5% goes to the county. 

 In the case of the Blockbuster site, the town negotiated very favorable terms with the developer - they are much better than had been negotated in the past. The old Blockbuster site sat empty for years and the new development will be a tremendous asset to the town. 

https://villagegreennj.com/towns/south-orange/south-orange-approves-25-year-phased-tax-abatement-for-vose-avenue-project/


For those who don't have access to the Village Green article linked in my post above: 

"At its May 11 meeting, the South Orange Board of Trustees adopted financial agreement for the Vose Avenue Apts. project that includes a 25-year tax abatement as well as millions of dollars in contributions from the developer from a land purchase, an affordable housing contribution and a public improvement contribution.

The development is a 5-story, mixed-use redevelopment project, to by undertaken by HUB Realty, that will bring 110 units of housing, a minimum of 12,000 sf of retail and a maximum 10,000n sf of second floor commercial space to the heart of South Orange Village. The developer will provide a minimum of 121 residential parking spaces and construct a garage that provides at least 70 public parking spaces.

The term of the tax abatement is 25 years, with the developer paying 10% from years 1 through 10, 12.5% in years 11 through 20, and $15% in years 21 through 25 before coming on at the full 100% of the value of the improvements.

The developer will meet its affordable housing requirement by providing 10% of affordable units onsite and 10% offsite. The 10% offsite payment of $825,000 will be used for the Third Avenue affordable housing project (40 units) that the Village is building in conjunction with partners, according to Village President Sheena Collum.

In addition, the plan includes a $1.3M public land acquisition by HUB Realty, as well as a $700,000 Public Improvement Contribution “for purposes of funding off-site capital improvements and associated costs,” and an agreement for the Township to lease commercial space at a rate of $1.00 per annum for a minimum term of 25 years at the end of which the Village will “have right-of-first-refusal for a 5-year lease at market rate rent with option for one 5-year extension.”

Collum said that the $1.3M land acquisition had helped the Village to “plug its deficit” this year as the township say a loss of $1.8M in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most importantly these redevelopment projects are going to fund our capital projects” including the Baird Center and the library renovations, while enabling the Village to keep tax increases low."

eta - There was a tremendous amount of work that went into that agreement. The negotioations took place over several years. 


cramer said:

The population of South Orange in 1970 was 16, 971. 

The population of South Orange in 2020 was 16,713  - down 258. 

Yet everybody complains that all of the traffic is because of the developments.

eta - A much larger percentage of the population commutes to New York because of the Midtown Direct. Some of the increased traffic during rush hour is no doubt because of commuters - both from South Orange as well as neighboring communities. But these commuters driving to the train station are from single famiky homes, and not develoments within walkng distance of the station. 

 People who live in apartments drive other places than to the train station.  Commuting to work is not their only reason to leave their home and travel places by car.  (How can I get this through to people?)  Plus, one person may commute and and the other may be doing all sorts of errands that involve driving -- at any time of the day.


cramer said:

For those who don't have access to the Village Green article linked in my post above: 

"At its May 11 meeting, the South Orange Board of Trustees adopted financial agreement for the Vose Avenue Apts. project that includes a 25-year tax abatement as well as millions of dollars in contributions from the developer from a land purchase, an affordable housing contribution and a public improvement contribution.

The development is a 5-story, mixed-use redevelopment project, to by undertaken by HUB Realty, that will bring 110 units of housing, a minimum of 12,000 sf of retail and a maximum 10,000n sf of second floor commercial space to the heart of South Orange Village. The developer will provide a minimum of 121 residential parking spaces and construct a garage that provides at least 70 public parking spaces.

The term of the tax abatement is 25 years, with the developer paying 10% from years 1 through 10, 12.5% in years 11 through 20, and $15% in years 21 through 25 before coming on at the full 100% of the value of the improvements.

The developer will meet its affordable housing requirement by providing 10% of affordable units onsite and 10% offsite. The 10% offsite payment of $825,000 will be used for the Third Avenue affordable housing project (40 units) that the Village is building in conjunction with partners, according to Village President Sheena Collum.

In addition, the plan includes a $1.3M public land acquisition by HUB Realty, as well as a $700,000 Public Improvement Contribution “for purposes of funding off-site capital improvements and associated costs,” and an agreement for the Township to lease commercial space at a rate of $1.00 per annum for a minimum term of 25 years at the end of which the Village will “have right-of-first-refusal for a 5-year lease at market rate rent with option for one 5-year extension.”

Collum said that the $1.3M land acquisition had helped the Village to “plug its deficit” this year as the township say a loss of $1.8M in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most importantly these redevelopment projects are going to fund our capital projects” including the Baird Center and the library renovations, while enabling the Village to keep tax increases low."

eta - There was a tremendous amount of work that went into that agreement. The negotioations took place over several years. 

 40 units on TWO existing properties?  That's really jamming them in here.  Plus it's possible this is the space where there IS currently  care center (on 3rd St) -- at least the last time I commuted, which is 10 years ago.  If there's such a great need, they should be sure they're replacing any day care being taken out with day-care options in some of that retail space being developed nearby.)


Juniemoon said:

 40 units on TWO existing properties?  That's really jamming them in here.  Plus it's possible this is the space where there IS currently  care center (on 3rd St) -- at least the last time I commuted, which is 10 years ago.  If there's such a great need, they should be sure they're replacing any day care being taken out with day-care options in some of that retail space being developed nearby.)

 You are mixing things up here.  You should look at the plans online for the two different projects you are referencing.



In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.

Sponsored Business

Find Business

Advertisement

Advertise here!