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New Jersey State lawmakers are advancing legislation which, if approved and signed into law, would reduce the parking requirements for certain new residential homes.

Jackson Township officials are speaking out in opposition to the proposal.

Lakewood Township officials on the other hand, are silent regarding the proposal. However, despite a report by Lakewood Alerts to the contrary, this pending legislation likely would not have any effect on Lakewood.

The bill, A-4984/S-3605 requires the Commissioner of Community Affairs to adopt regulations implementing certain reductions in required on- and off-street parking spaces in the Statewide site improvement standards by 20, 30, and 50 percent depending on a residential development’s proximity to certain public transportation services.

Essentially, the bill would reduce parking requirements for new housing developments which are constructed within a certain distance to certain public transportation services.

For background information, the use of a property (i.e. whether single family homes, duplexes, or commercial uses) are permitted on a property, as well as the bulk standards (i.e. whether a minimum of 10,000 or 20,000 sq feet in area is required per lot) is left up to individual municipalities. However, the parking requirements for residential homes is governed by state law called the Residential Site Improvements Standards.

These standards provide parking requirements for homes of up to 5 bedrooms (3 parking spaces).

The standards already specifies that this is the maximum number of parking spaces planning boards and other local reviewers shall require, and that:

1. Reviewers may allow fewer parking spaces, when warranted. Factors that may affect parking include the following:

i. Household characteristics;

ii. Access to mass transit;

iii. Geographic location; and

iv. Offsite parking resources.

I.e. Local land use boards are already permitted to say, "in this town we have sufficient mass transit options in close proximity to the proposed development, therefore you may provide less than the maximum required number of parking spaces."

The pending legislation would amend this permission to a requirement that local land use boards cut back on parking requirements on planned residential developments which are in proximity to certain public transportation services.

At a recent Assembly Committee hearing on the proposed bill, numerous developers hailed the proposal, claiming that "urban areas such as Hoboken, which has moved towards less reliance on cars and more towards ride sharing, are suffering from having unused parking lots when the areas could be put to better use."

A representative of the New Jersey Apartment Building Association claimed, "New Jersey has an ample supply of parking, but a shortage of housing."

On the other hand, Paul Penna, a Legislative Analyst on the New Jersey League of Municipalities's Government Affairs team, opposed the bill, stating, "the facts in Hoboken are not the same all across the Garden State. This should not be done on a "one size fits all" basis, but rather on a case by case basis to be determined by each municipality as each municipality knows its needs."

The Jackson Township Council has also voiced opposition to the bill.

The Council recently adopted a Resolution which states:

This legislation may be appropriate for large apartment complexes adjoining rail or bus stations. Jackson does not have local mass transit, only some sporadic commuter bus stops.

This legislation is clearly not in the best interests for Jackson Township as it would directly impact available parking spaces in Jackson Township, and provide a windfall to developers while placing more cars on public streets.

Outgoing Assemblyman Ned Thomson, who currently represents Lakewood Township, voted in Committee in support of this legislation.

Lakewood Alerts reported that the bill "would potentially bring higher density and less parking to Lakewood and beyond," explaining further that "being that parking generally takes up more space than homes themselves, this legislation could dramatically increase density in Lakewood."

However, this statement seems to be inaccurate. Additionally, this legislation, even if signed into law, would likely have not much of any effect on Lakewood.

This is because most new homes built in Lakewood have more than 5 bedrooms. The Township's ordinances mirror the Residential Site Improvements Standards and require 3 parking spaces for a 5 bedroom house. As the RSIS does not list any requirements for homes with more than 6 bedrooms, the Township Committee has adopted their own ordinances requiring 4 parking spaces for homes with 6-9 bedrooms (including the basement apartments), and 5 parking spaces for homes with 10+ bedrooms.

Accordingly, even if the RSIS is amended by this pending legislation to require less parking for homes with 5 or less bedrooms, Lakewood Township's ordinances will likely not be affected.

This is likely why the Lakewood Township Committee has not opposed this pending legislation.

A-4984 is sponsored by Bergen and Passaic Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese and Burlington and Camden Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald.

S-3605 is sponsored by Bergen and Passaic Senator Paul A. Sarlo and Burlington Senator Troy Singleton.

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Yitz said...

We need a clear definition of what qualifies as “public transit”

ab said...

The Avi Schnall propaganda team is hard at work.