Borough of Essex Fells, NJ
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 6-15-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-774]
The objective of the Affordable Housing District is to establish an area permitting multifamily market rate and affordable housing while conserving on-site environmental features and buffering adjacent single-family residences.
A. 
Permitted principal uses: townhouses and multifamily apartments.
B. 
Permitted accessory uses: uses customarily incidental and accessory to the principal use, such as utility facilities, which shall be underground, and solid waste storage enclosures.
A. 
Minimum lot area: one acre; if a subdivision is proposed to create multiple lots, a site plan for the entire tract shall be submitted.
B. 
Maximum density: average for entire tract of not more than 12 units per acre and a maximum of 36 units per tract, which must include:
(1) 
Thirty-one market rate units, which shall be two-bedroom units.
(2) 
Five affordable units, subject to the requirements of Article XXIII, which provide for the following unit mix:
(a) 
Three two-bedroom units.
(b) 
One three-bedroom unit.
(c) 
One one-bedroom unit.
(3) 
If a lesser number of total units is provided, the unit mix shall be adjusted with a minimum of 15% of the total number of units to be subject to the provisions of Article XXIII, including affordability controls and bedroom unit mix requirements.
C. 
Minimum/maximum front yard setback: five feet.
D. 
Minimum side yard setback: 15 feet.
E. 
Minimum rear yard setback: 25 feet.
F. 
Minimum separation between buildings: 25 feet.
G. 
Maximum impervious coverage: 17%.
H. 
Minimum separation between parking and buildings: five feet.
I. 
Maximum building coverage: 13%.
J. 
Maximum building height: 40 feet, measured from the front building elevation.
K. 
Buffer. A densely planted landscaped buffer is required along all rear lot lines and side lot lines abutting a different zoning district. The buffer must have a minimum width of nine feet seven inches at the western end and gradually widen to a minimum width of 16 feet six inches at the eastern end. The buffer is intended to screen adjacent residences from on-site buildings and parking.
L. 
Off-street parking. In accordance with Residential Site Improvement Standards (RSIS), the minimum number of on-site parking spaces shall be as follows:
(1) 
Three-bedroom: 2.1 spaces per unit.
(2) 
Two-bedroom: 2.0 spaces per unit.
(3) 
One-bedroom: 1.8 spaces per unit.
Design standards for the Affordable Housing District shall be as follows:
A. 
Buildings shall be oriented to the front and relate to the public street, both functionally and physically. The primary orientation of a building shall not be toward a parking lot.
B. 
Multiple buildings on a single property shall be designed to be architecturally compatible with one another, using common color schemes and materials.
C. 
Garages must be located in the rear of structures and may not be visible from Bloomfield Avenue.
D. 
The appearance of the side and rear elevations is important, especially where parking is provided next to buildings. Large, blank facades are prohibited. All elevations must be punctuated with windows and/or entrance doors. Garage doors may not be a primary feature of any elevation.
E. 
Units may not be accessed at front grade. A minimum grade separation of three steps is required along Bloomfield Avenue to maintain a unified appearance from the street. Designated accessible apartments shall provide additional means of access to Bloomfield Avenue.
F. 
All mechanical equipment, such as meters and air conditioners, shall be screened from public view, and all utility lines shall be installed underground.
G. 
Outside storage of materials and belongings of residents is prohibited.
H. 
Common solid waste storage areas are encouraged to be architecturally designed to not appear as "dumpster drops." At a minimum, solid waste storage areas must be enclosed on all sides by a six-foot-high cedar board on board fence. Where a fence is visible from the public right-of-way, it shall be supplemented with a hedge comprised of a single species of deciduous flowering shrubbery. The enclosure shall contain a swing gate for access, which faces the parking area. The inside of the enclosure must be fully screened from adjacent single-family residences.
I. 
Recyclable materials shall be stored inside until time of collection or in clearly designated areas integrated with outside solid waste storage enclosure.
J. 
Signage. Permitted signs are limited to:
(1) 
One monument sign is permitted, which may not exceed a total of 24 square feet.
(2) 
Sign may be externally illuminated.
(3) 
One unit identification sign is permitted per unit, with a maximum size of two square feet per unit.
K. 
Outdoor lighting.
(1) 
Lighting shall be designed to promote on-site safety and aesthetics and minimize undesirable off-site side effects.
(2) 
Lighting shall be designed to not spill onto adjacent residential properties. A lighting plan shall be prepared to allow a determination of lighting impacts at the property lines, Bloomfield Avenue and adjacent properties and overhead sky glow.
(3) 
Maximum intensity provided shall be 0.03 footcandle for parking areas and 0.02 for all other areas. The maximum illumination at property lines shall be 0.1 footcandle at grade. Metal halide bulbs shall be used. Light poles shall be a maximum of 15 feet in height.
(4) 
No lighting source shall be visible from windows, streets or driveways.
(5) 
Floodlight-type fixtures attached to buildings are prohibited.
L. 
Sidewalks along Bloomfield Avenue shall be a minimum of five feet in width.
M. 
Parking areas shall contain walkways leading to Bloomfield Avenue. Walkways shall have a minimum width of three feet. Parking areas shall contain planting beds at their ends facing Bloomfield Avenue and adjacent residential properties. Each planting bed shall contain at least one three-inch caliper flowering tree and a low evergreen hedge. Planting beds may not contain turf and must be mulched.
N. 
Street trees are required at twenty-five-foot intervals along Bloomfield Avenue and must be located in the planting strip between the sidewalk and curb area. The planting strip shall be prepared as a continuous planting bed and soil shall be removed to a depth of 12 inches and replaced with a mixture consisting of equal parts topsoil, humus and sand. The strip may be planted with Acer ginnala – Amur maple or Acer campestre – Hedge maple, with a minimum three-inch caliper.
O. 
Front yards must be landscaped with a combination of small flowering trees, evergreen shrubs, perennials and bulbs to create a garden space. Turf is prohibited in front yards.
P. 
Side yards may contain turf and must contain a minimum of two flowering trees.
Q. 
Open space/recreation areas must be designed to be usable for active or passive activities. Open space/recreation shall incorporate existing natural features as design elements whenever possible. Existing large trees shall be pruned and mulched or underplanted with appropriate ground cover. Open space/recreation spaces must be accessible to all residents of the development. Detailed plans for open space/recreation areas must be included with the site plan application. Plans shall indicate existing plant material to be included, new plantings, pathways and recreation features, such as bocce courts or benches. Provisions shall be made for residents with dogs.
R. 
The rear buffer must be designed to screen buildings, parking and refuse areas from adjacent single-family residences. The grade change between residences and new development makes the placement of evergreen and deciduous plant material crucial. A continuous row of evergreen trees must be planted along the back edge of the buffer. Evergreen trees must be planted in alternating masses of seven to 10 plants selected from the plant schedule found in this section. Sections of the buffer greater in width than 10 feet shall be planted with alternating masses (five to seven plants) of evergreen and flowering shrubbery in front of masses of evergreen trees. To ensure continued health of plantings within the buffer area, the following landscape maintenance guidelines shall apply:
(1) 
Irrigation. A timed irrigation system shall be installed and maintained along the entire rear buffer area. Such irrigation system shall be designed by a certified irrigation designer to ensure proper coverage, energy efficiency and water conservation.
(2) 
Pruning. Plants shall be allowed to grow into their natural shapes. No plant shall be sheared. Pruning shall be undertaken to improve plant health and ensure public safety first, and for aesthetic reasons secondly. Pruning shall be undertaken to remove crossing branches, broken branches and to improve air circulation and access to light. Plantings shall be pruned to develop as a mass. They shall not be permitted to grow into each other. Branches shall be selectively trimmed or removed to maintain proper spacing between plantings. Pruning shall be undertaken to ensure that plantings provide a visual buffer between the development and adjacent residences.
(3) 
Fertilizing. A balanced granular fertilizer shall be applied annually during mulching.
(4) 
Mulching. Buffer shall be mulched annually with two inches of dark, double shredded hardwood mulch. All leaves, weeds and debris shall be removed prior to mulching. No dyed mulches shall be applied. Mulch shall be applied as an even layer and not be mounded at the base of plantings.
(5) 
Pest control. Standards of integrated pest management shall be applied.
(6) 
Plant schedule. Landscaping is subject to the following plant schedule:
Plant Schedule
Botanical Name
Common Name
Minimum Size
Spacing
Street Trees
Acer ginnala
Amur maple
3-inch caliper
25 feet on center
Acer campestre
Hedge maple
3-inch caliper
25 feet on center
Parking Lot Trees
Carpinus betulus
European hornbeam
3-inch caliper
As needed
Carpinus caroliniana
American hornbeam
3-inch caliper
As needed
Prunus x Okame
Okame flowering cherry
3-inch caliper
As needed
Prunus x yedoensis
Akebono flowering cherry
3-inch caliper
As needed
Pyrus calleryana 'Capital'
Capital callery pear
3-inch caliper
As needed
Flowering Trees
Cercis canadensis
Eastern redbud
3-inch caliper
As needed
Cornus kousa
Kousa dogwood
3-inch caliper
As needed
Cornus mas
Cherry dogwood
3-inch caliper
As needed
Magnolia stellata
Star magnolia
3-inch caliper
As needed
Syringa reticulata
Japanese tree lilac
3-inch caliper
As needed
Evergreen Trees
Cupressocyparis leylandi
Leyland cypress
5 feet to 6 feet
5 feet on center
Ilex aquaperni 'San Jose'
San Jose holly
5 feet to 6 feet
5 feet on center
Ilex x Nellie R. Stevens
Nellie R. Stevens holly
5 feet to 6 feet
8 feet on center
Ilex opaca
American holly
5 feet to 6 feet
8 feet on center
Picea omorika
Serbian spruce
5 feet to 6 feet
10 feet on center
Picea pungens glauca
Colorado blue spruce
5 feet to 6 feet
10 feet on center
Evergreen Shrubs
Ilex x blue angel
Blue angel holly
5 gallon
3 feet on center
Ilex x blue maid
Blue maid holly
5 gallon
3 feet on center
Ilex x blue princess
Blue princess holly
5 gallon
3 feet on center
Ilex crenata
Japanese holly
5 gallon
3 feet on center
Prunus laurocerasus
Cherry laurel
5 gallon
3 feet on center
Taxus baccatta rependens
Spreading English yew
5 gallon
3 feet on center
Flowering Shrubs
Euonymus alatus compactus
Burning bush
5 gallon
5 feet on center
Hydrangea quercifolia
Oakleaf hydrangea
5 gallon
5 feet on center
Ilex verticillata
Winterberry holly
5 gallon
5 feet on center
Viburnum carlesi
Koreanspice viburnum
5 gallon
5 feet on center
Viburnum dentatum
Arrowood viburnum
5 gallon
5 feet on center
Weigela florida
Flowering Weigela
5 gallon
5 feet on center
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
Any development application shall require site plan approval proceedings in accordance with the procedural requirements in this chapter and the Municipal Land Use Law.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.
All standards of this chapter shall apply unless there is a conflict with the provisions of this chapter, in which case the provisions of this chapter shall control.
An essential and nonseverable condition of any approval to develop in the Affordable Housing District shall be full compliance with the terms and conditions of any applicable Mt. Laurel Settlement Agreement approved by the Superior Court.