Somerville forms special committee to study apartments' redevelopment

·2 min read

SOMERVILLE – The borough is creating a special committee to study the future zoning of the Brookside Gardens apartments community.

Councilman Roger Vroom said at Tuesday's borough council meeting that the ad hoc committee will be comprised of members from the borough's planning, zoning and environmental boards,along with residents.

Residents who are interested in serving on the committee should send resumes by Wednesday, Jan. 26 to Vroom at rvroom@somervillenj.org or Borough Administrator Kevin Sluka at ksluka@somervillenj.org.

"We will choose a handful of folks," Vroom said, adding that the committee should get to work as quickly as possible.

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Gina Stravic, chair of the environmental commission, told the council that commission members "feel strongly that an outside planning or environmental firm that has no current or past ties to the community" should be brought into the process.

The East Cliff Street portion of Brookside Gardens is uninhabitable after flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The East Cliff Street portion of Brookside Gardens is uninhabitable after flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

She said the committee should take into consideration residents' concerns, including affordable housing issues, and the state Department of Environmental Protection's new rules on flood hazard areas.

Stravic also said the process should be "clear and transparent."

New zoning of Brookside Gardens arose after sections of the decades-old community were devastated by floodwaters of the Peters Brook during the remnants of Hurricane Ida, displacing more than 150 residents.

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Representatives of Edgewood Properties, owner of the community, met with the borough's development committee to draft a new zoning to guide the reconstruction of the apartments.

However, the zoning ordinance, which called for apartments to be built on stilts with a higher density, ran into opposition from some residents, prompting the Borough Council to delay action and form the special committee.

Email: mdeak@mycentraljersey.com

Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Somerville NJ: Brookside Gardens redevelopment special panel formed

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