Artist housing returns to Planning Board Tuesday

The Planning Board is scheduled to hear an application Tuesday night seeking final site plan approval for a 58-unit affordable housing development geared toward artists in the former Elizabethtown Gas building on Central Avenue. UPDATED: The meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled.

In May, the Planning Board approved a preliminary site plan for Rahway Residences for the Arts. Ingerman Development Company, LLC, will seek final major site plan approval with a bulk “c” variance for 219 Central Ave. (Block 167, Lot 1).

Rahway-Residence-for-the-Arts-Central-Av-elevation-150x150The 58 units would comprised of 24 one-bedrooms, 28 two-bedrooms and 6 three-bedrooms (10 percent are required to qualify for affordable housing tax credits). To qualify for the project, potential residents would have to earn less than 60 percent of the area’s median income.

The development would have 37 parking spaces for residents, about half would be open-air and the other half covered by the building. Another 36 parking spaces will be available through an arrangement with the Parking Authority, at the Hamilton Stage parking lot across the river and the YMCA lot off Irving Street. At the May application hearing, members of the adjacent Ebenezer A.M.E. Church raised concerns about parking in the area during events in the neighborhood.

Collingswood-based Ingerman secured New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) tax credits for the project, among $32 million announced in November to create some 1,700 rental units statewide.

Elizabethtown-Gas-building.Dec2013The Redevelopment Agency plans to buy the 1-acre property for $731,000 and sell it to the developer for $956,000. Acquisition has not yet been completed, which redevelopment officials have said is because Atlanta-based AGL Resources, the parent company of Elizabethtown Gas, still is in the process of completing a merger with Southern Company (expected during the second half of this year).