Mahwah Considering “Opting In” to Highlands.
At a recent meeting of the Mayor and Council, a straw poll vote indicated strong movement by the governing body toward “opting in” to the Highlands Preservation Zone mandates. Portions of Mahwah north and west of the Ramapo River are already in the Highlands Perseveration District. The remaining portions of the Township are in the less restricted Planning District. “Opting in” will ensure the entire Township is burdened by the rigorous limitations of the Preservation District. Virtually all development, including a simple house addition with a new footprint will, of necessity, have to go to NJDEP for a Highlands Waiver.
The genesis of the movement to “opt in” comes from the burdens of the Third Round COAH (affordable housing) obligation placed on the Township. Mahwah’s required number of affordable units was an incredible 783. Opting in allows that number to be decreased substantially, ostensibly because there is no readily developable property.
Final action is anticipated in December. It remains to be seen if the recent gubernatorial election and the coming changes in Trenton will have any impact on the direction taken by Mahwah. We will keep you abreast of developments.
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