South Orange Designates ‘Conditional Redevelopers’ for Orange Lawn, 4th & Valley

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The South Orange Village Board of Trustees approved resolutions last night designating “conditional developers” for two major projects.

Resolution 2015-166 designated Villas at Orange Lawn, LLC as the conditional redeveloper for a 5-acre portion of the 16-acre Orange Lawn Tennis Club property (Black 1304, Lot 6). Resolution 2015-167 designated Meridia in the Valley, South Orange, LLC as the conditional redeveloper for lots on both sides of 4th Street between Valley and the railroad tracks (Block 2303, lots 7 and 8; and Block 2304, lots 10, 11 and 12).

The resolutions passed unanimously on introduction.

Neither resolution “authorizes any development of any kind,” stressed Village Administrator Barry Lewis. “This is just the first step in that process,” said Lewis to the Board of Trustees. “Neither one of these authorizes anything beyond identifying the entities with which we can negotiate.”

Lewis noted that, even with the town-wide rehabilitation designation, “you still effectuate it under a redevelopment agreement.” The two projects are not located in redevelopment zones, noted Lewis, so they do not have the option of 30-year PILOT — or payment in lieu of taxes. Rather, they would be eligible to negotiate a 5-year PILOT with a 20% tax payment phase in each year.

“What it does do is give us the ability to have those type of financial agreements on the short-term tax, but equally if not more importantly the additional zoning type controls that come with a redevelopment agreement and a redevelopment plan,” said Lewis.

Lewis stressed that no financial agreement has been reached and no redevelopment plan has yet been negotiated, introduced or approved for either project.

Village President Sheena Collum noted that negotiations between the developer Villas of Orange Lawn, the town and neighbors had been “quite the process” and that the proposed unit count on the Orange Lawn development had been lowered to a “density consistent with the surrounding properties.”

Lewis pointed out the conditional redeveloper designation for Orange Lawn was only for the 5-acres being sold. However, he noted that a redevelopment plan would be created for the entire 16-acre site and that the objective of the town would be to have the remaining acres restricted to that lower density a well.

“The intention of the redevelopment plan would be to control what’s happening on all 16 acres,” said Lewis.

Regarding the project at 4th Street and Valley, Lewis said that the discussions with the conditional redeveloper were “very preliminary.” He later told The Village Green that the proposed project looks to be mixed-use with structured parking “similar to the Jonathan Rose” project at Third & Valley.” Lewis said that the total number of units from the development on both sides of 4th Street could be in the “same ballpark” as Third & Valley. Lewis said that the town would be looking at traffic impacts of the development as well as transit capacity as discussions with the conditional redeveloper continued.



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