Jackson moves forward on housing, business plan


By Michael Benavides
Staff Writer

JACKSON – The Township Council has introduced an ordinance that will, upon adoption, allow officials to comply with a consent order between Jackson and a developer who may build affordable housing and a variety of businesses.

On April 11, the council introduced an ordinance to establish a Mixed Use Neighborhood Center/Highway Commercial zone and a Mixed Use Neighborhood Center/Light Industrial zone.

A public hearing on the ordinance will be held during the council’s April 25 meeting in the municipal building.

Township Clerk Ann Marie Eden said the zones being established will encompass 435 acres that are generally south of Interstate 195, east of Diamond Road, west of Herman Road and north of Jackson Mills Road.

Eden said the council introduced the ordinance as part of a consent order between the township and Leigh Realty regarding the issue of affordable housing.

“This ordinance is required to implement the consent order between the township and Leigh Realty,” she said.

“Leigh Realty intervened in the township’s declaratory judgment action for affordable housing in 2007 and the court ordered mediation between the parties regarding a mixed use project to include commercial development and a village green and is anticipated to include additional entertainment and/or recreational facilities.

“Residential development in the new zones will be permitted only as part of a mixed use center or expansion of an approved mixed use center,” Eden said.

“There will be no detached single-family dwellings in the mixed use center and no more than 10 percent of the total number of dwelling units will be three-bedroom units, inclusive of the required affordable units.

“No dwelling units in a mixed use center may have four or more bedrooms. … The developer originally sought approval of over 6,000 homes, but the township was able through negotiation to limit the initial stage to 1,365 dwelling units and impose a hard maximum of 2,500 homes, which … can only be reached through the construction of additional commercial space,” Eden said.

“The purpose of the ordinance is to permit the mixed use development and to set forth building and design standards, as well as a phasing schedule for the residential and commercial development,” she added.