Residents’ Concerns Prompt South Orange to Revisit Orange Lawn Zoning

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Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. said at Monday’s South Orange Board of Trustees meeting that he would have a revised ordinance regarding the potential subdivision of the Orange Lawn Tennis Club property ready for the Planning and Zoning Committee’s meeting Tuesday night, March 10.

Trustee Sheena Collum asked for the ordinance to be discussed by the Planning and Zoning Committee as it will be, in effect, a new ordinance. The Board of Trustees then plans to review the revised ordinance at its next meeting on March 23.

Lewis announced that the South Orange Board of Trustees was withdrawing the ordinance as previously written at the March 2 Planning Board meeting.

Lewis said in a phone interview last week that in response to concerns voiced by residents who live near Orange Lawn, the trustees reviewed the ordinance and decided it was too ambiguous in terms of how large a swath and which part of the 16-acre property could be zoned for planned residential construction like townhouses, versus how much could be zoned for recreational use.

“Neighbors raised concerns and had very thoughtful comments and input,” said Lewis. “The planners took a look and questions were raised.” He said it was a “credit to the board” that they decided the ordinance should be pulled and revised.

The way the ordinance was drafted, if Orange Lawn ever closed or sold the property, there would be nothing to prevent a developer from building more townhouses than the 27 or so Orange Lawn owners are currently proposing, said Lewis. One option the trustees are considering is to make it clear that the 11-acre part of the property currently zoned for recreation could only be used in future for recreation or for single-family homes, not for townhomes.

The Village Green will follow up on this issue and report on further developments.


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