The national housing shortage and related crisis of affordability are clearly evidenced within NJ’s suburban communities, as new housing supply continues to lag behind rising demand. State-mandated obligations ensuring construction of affordable housing imposed upon each municipality are intended to help meet these challenges. However, requirements can be daunting for a small borough such as Far Hills.
Following several years of deliberation, community members and leadership have unanimously selected Melillo Equities’ proposal to redevelop Errico Acres, strategically positioning Far Hills to retire its “Round III” affordable housing obligations through 2025.
Sited on the former Errico family property, the firm’s forthcoming 134-unit inclusionary neighborhood will be developed in partnership with Pulte Homes, incorporating twenty-nine income restricted apartments as an integral element of the project. These affordable housing units will be owned and managed by Melillo Equities.
The overall mixed-income enclave will intentionally maintain an inclusive and equitable environment. To ensure a sense of neighborhood compatibility, the affordable housing structure’s exterior will evoke that of a traditional farmhouse, using the same brick and clapboard siding materials and architectural gable and dormer design elements as the surrounding new townhomes. Moreover, residents will share full access to landscaped grounds and trails throughout the property.
A variety of features have been introduced to minimize financial and environmental impact to the municipality. Such initiatives include a residential age restriction (55+) imposed to eliminate strain on public school enrollment. Additionally, a 300-foot setback easement has been designed to protect the Borough’s scenic viewshed corridor, keeping all structures largely hidden from view. Perhaps the most significant effort entails construction of on-site wastewater treatment to prevent a “creeping sewer line,” thereby discouraging future area development. Lastly, substantial acreage running adjacent to an existing conservation easement has been marked for preservation, resulting in one of the larger contiguous protected wildlife habitats in the Borough.
In a state consistently ranked one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, inclusionary projects such as Kimbolton present a win-win for suburban towns faced with the challenge of meeting affordable housing requirements while minimizing impact to community and environment.