The Town Council will be meeting tonight, Monday, July 27, to take a vote on a $12.8 million bond to buy two properties whose owners had sought to use Verona’s affordable housing obligations to develop them into as many as 370 housing units.
As noted at the Council’s last meeting, one lot is at the end of Commerce Court and the town has rented it for years to be the leaf dump. The other lies between the Eagle Rock Reservation and the Afterglow neighborhood. Taken together, they cover more than 25 acres and, going forward, they will be preserved largely as open space.
Township Manager Matthew Cavallo said at the last meeting that Verona’s government is working to lower the cost of the purchase to taxpayers, perhaps to as little as $7 million. Verona is petitioning the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to get Green Acres funding and seeking money from Essex County’s Open Space Trust Fund because the property on Mount Prospect Avenue is adjacent to Eagle Rock Reservation. The township is also working with its open space consultant, the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, to secure private funding. The Council may seek may also sell nine buildable lots from the Commerce Court property, about 25% of the total acreage there, for development as single-family homes that would be accessible from Birch Lane only.
While there are several other items on the Council agenda for tonight, the body will once again not take any action on GTI New Jersey’s request for a letter of support for a medical cannabis dispensary to be located at 30 Pompton Avenue. The agenda pushes that off to the Council’s next meeting on August 10.
The meeting will be conducted remotely over Zoom video conferencing and is open to the public. You can join the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/95262662770 or by telephone at 1(312)626-6799 or 1(646)558-8656. Use Zoom Meeting ID: 952-6266-2770, when prompted for a Participant ID, press #. The meeting agenda is here.