South Orange Working With Seton Hall to Create New Housing

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At the October 12 meeting of the South Orange Board of Trustees, Village President Sheena Collum reported that Township officials were meeting with Seton Hall University “to talk about student housing and where are the appropriate places for it to go.”

“They have a housing crunch,” said Collum who added that she and Trustee Mark Rosner along with Village Administrator Barry Lewis, redevelopment counsel Joe Baumann, Bob Zuckerman of the South Orange Village Center Alliance, and Jon Vogel from the South Orange Development Committee were meeting with representatives of Seton Hall. “We want to encourage them to grow.”

Currently, Collum said that, to deal with the need for additional housing, SHU was using shuttles to bring students in and out of housing in Newark. Collum said that this was a loss for South Orange as those students could be living in town and contributing to the local economy.

However, Collum said that the Township wanted to avoid Seton Hall purchasing properties for housing and having those properties “leave the tax rolls.” She said that the Township was also not interested in students acquiring properties in residential areas. Collum noted that, earlier in the meeting, two residents had come to complain about the rowdy behavior of students living in a residential property in their neighborhood. “It’s not that they are bad,” said Collum, “It’s just that they are enjoying the student lifestyle.”

To avoid this, Collum said, “We are looking at various development projects primarily in the business districts because they [the students] don’t have vehicles.” Collum said that the town and SHU were also working with private developers “so that they remain on the tax rolls.” Collum said that locating housing for students in these areas would supply more customers to support local businesses.

“If we don’t address [the need for more student housing] then it will address itself with more people renting in residential zones or shuttling in and out of town,” said Collum. Collum said that at this point, the township was “making introductions” between Seton Hall and developers.

She also noted that she wanted to see some more investment from Seton Hall in the retail community: “We want to see the campus bookstore or some retail from Seton Hall in our central business district. We reinforced this.”


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