Housing developments planned for two Paramus garden centers move forward – NorthJersey.com

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PARAMUS — Two developments slated for two nurseries, one of which shut down years ago, cleared another hurdle last week when the Borough Council approved zoning changes.

While neither plan has gone before the Paramus Planning Board yet, the Borough Council approved the amendments to a 2019 zoning ordinance last week. The changes were sent to the Planning Board earlier this month for review.

The 2019 ordinance had designated multiple nurseries in town as areas in need of rehabilitation, including Joy’s Farm, Eisele’s Nursery, Denny Wiggers Garden Center, a lot on the former Tree Land Nursery and a vacant lot near Parkway Elementary School.

The Planning Board identified the nurseries as being appropriate for development as the borough sought to provide its fair share of a regional need for affordable housing.

The properties are among the few remaining developable sites in the borough, officials have said. Declaring an area in need of rehabilitation does not permit a municipality to force a property owner to move or yield the property through eminent domain.

Mayor Richard LaBarbiera said that while nobody wants to see nurseries being developed in town, it’s beyond the council’s control. What the council can control, however, is how they are developed, said LaBarbiera. He said he was pleased that improving the changes was a unanimous decision by the council.

“They will minimize the impact to our schools and burden on our services while ensuring a product and development that is consistent with the residential character of the surrounding areas,” LaBarbiera said. 

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The newly approved amendments would also include zoning changes for the former Revicki Farms on Spring Valley Road, which hasn’t operated as a farm or nursery for years. A developer is looking to bring 24 townhouses to the vacant site.

Senior housing is being proposed for Joy’s Farm and would have two buildings: One would be similar to Brightview, an assisted-living facility on Forest Avenue, and the second would have age-restricted housing for people 55 and over. 

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The Borough Council already changed the 2019 zoning ordinance in October for the proposed Joy’s Farm project, but introduced an additional amendment last week that would alter the height from 48 feet to 56 feet to accommodate a pitched roof instead of a flat roof.

For Revicki Farms, there is language in the ordinance that refers to a maximum of eight units per acre, which would leave the project with 23.46 units. One change clarifies that it can be rounded up to 24 units.

In other changes, no dwelling would be permitted to have three bedrooms unless designated as affordable housing, and roof and balcony overhangs could extend 2 feet into the setback of the building. There was a request to move fencing back from the property line to spare trees.

Now that the council has approved the zoning changes, both projects will move to the Planning Board for review. 

Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: noda@northjersey.com 

Twitter: @snoda11