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Hilltop Housing Won’t Be Age-Restricted


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The first of two Hilltop buildings that will contain luxury apartments has just been completed.
The first of two Hilltop buildings that will contain luxury apartments has just been completed.

Cenrose, the real estate company currently developing a 24-acre Hilltop parcel in Verona, will not build the age-restricted units specified in the Hilltop development plan, according to township manager Joseph Martin. The reason for the change, he says, is that the market for age-restricted housing is “saturated or moribund.”

The development company, a joint venture between Century 21 and Roseland Property Company, just completed the first of two buildings on the site, called The Highlands at Hilltop, containing 95 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments. Cenrose still plans to build the second building, which will contain 100 one- and two-bedroom apartments, but these units will not be age-restricted. Instead, like those in the completed building, they will be “market-rate rentals,” a category which is “thriving,” according to Mr. Martin. A Cenrose representative will present the proposal at this Thursday’s joint meeting of the Verona Planning Board and Verona Town Council.

During negotiations over the development of the Hilltop years ago, Verona officials lobbied for the inclusion of age-restricted housing, since an older population does not put an additional burden on the schools and has a negligible effect on traffic.

The area under development is in the bottom left of this map of the Hilltop trails.
The area under development is in the bottom left of this map of the Hilltop trails.

Still, Mr. Martin is sanguine about the situation. While the units will not be age-restricted, they will be “age-targeted,” he says, at young professionals and empty-nesters, with amenities like “a spa instead of a playground.”  It’s unlikely that there will be many young families renting 1- and 2- bedroom luxury apartments, he says, so he doesn’t anticipate much of an impact on school enrollment.

The additional traffic is more of a concern, he says,  especially during the morning commute, since older populations tend to have a later morning “peak.”  One possible hot spot is the traffic light at the intersection of White Rock Road and Bloomfield Avenue.  The town has commissioned a traffic study to assess the impact.

Tax-wise, the rental units will be a boon to the town, says Mr. Martin, since the favorable tax structure brokered in the original plan remains intact.  In contrast with the usual property-tax formula where 50% goes to the schools, 25% goes to the county and 25% to the town, 95% of the tax revenue from these units will go to the town and 5% to the county. By giving the developer the green light to break ground soon, within a year or two Verona could be reaping “a million and a half” in revenue, instead of having the land lay idle while the developers wait for the market to improve. “It’s a great project,” says Mr. Martin. “We’re making lemons out of lemonade.”

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Julia Martin Langan
Julia Martin Langanhttps://myveronanj.com
Julia Martin Langan moved to Verona in 1989. A long-time journalist, she has been on the staff of Money, Sports Illustrated, Bride’s and Redbook magazines. Her articles on health and parenting appear in a variety of national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Parents, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Self and Family Circle. She and her husband Greg have three school-aged children, and are members of Our Lady of the Lake Church. You can reach Julia at [email protected].


  1. I really wish someone would build an age-restricted complex where you had to be under 40 to move in. Young Professionals would love this!

  2. a boon to the town Joe Martin says.. taxes went up 9% in Verona, traffic is ridiculous, it takes me 1/2 hour to cross over Bloomfield Avenue any time of the day or night… quality of life?
    gone thanks to Joe Martin and this Council who is selling our quality of life for the buck and killing those bucks while they are at it. We must remove the elected officials from office with a recall and hire a town manager who cares about the residents, most of whom cannot afford to live here anymore. Did you ever go to a town meeting.. Joe Martin says everything, the Mayor and Council are like puppets… we are paying the salaries of live puppets. And what happens to the school expenses when the surplus is gone? More taxes….

    Mr. Daggett had a great plan that would reduce our property taxes to as much as $2,500, so I would have paid a tax at the nail and hair salon!!!that I can’t afford much now anyway …I still would have saved $1,9000 net from my property taxes…and he would have ensured a quality education for every child in New Jersey without taxing us to death. But the voting public believed the media who is one sided at best, and said Chris Daggett could not win as Governor….. so now everyone, rather than take a chance on someone new, you voted for “change”…. another major party candidate, and now you have to live with your choice of Christie for four years, and hope you can still afford your home at that time and can you even afford to live in New Jersey at that time.. Who knows? The lower and middle class who need NJ Transit are also going to be taxed more. Essex County is killing us with long term bond debt for Joe Divincenzo’s parks and carousels and gazebos that we can’t afford, and we must not forget the restaurants in the park when we have three restaurants sitting empty right across the street on Northfield Avenue. Wake up everyone get the facts. Most of these jokers run for offie because they want to enrich themselves, they care about none of us.
    Why not find out how much long term bond debt Essex County and Verona have and you will be quite shocked. Do an OPRA request (OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS ACT) query to Al Fusco in Essex County and Joe Martin in Verona…. then realize we are being duped every day.
    So just keep voting in the same people for office and wonder why we are now in a major financial mess.

  3. Marilyn,

    MyVeronaNJ extends the privilege of commenting on our stories to all our readers, provided that these comments, whether positive or critical of our stories, are civil and constructive. We hope that you will contribute to our site in that way.


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