750 Walnut Avenue Residential & Flex Warehouse Space

UPDATE:  August 25, 2021

The Cranford Township Committee on Monday, August 23 voted to restrict the height of the 750 Walnut residential buildings to 4 stories. This is one of the two options supported by the mediator.

UPDATE:  August 16, 2021

The Cranford Township Committee will hold special Workshop and Closed Session Meetings on Monday, August 23, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in the Municipal Building, Room 108, 8 Springfield Ave. Topics include “Draft – 750 Walnut Avenue Redevelopment Plan.” Formal Action may be taken.

Workshop meetings are open to the public but are not televised or recorded.  An agenda should be posted a couple of days in advance, but it seems the Public portion of the meeting will concern a “height vs open space issue” issue.

There is an unresolved dispute between the Township & Hartz Mountain over the height of the residential buildings vs open space at 750 Walnut Ave. Cranford and Hartz were unable to agree on this so it was turned over to a mediator who gave the Township two options.

The Township is now asking residents their preference via a one question survey with a Comments section.

The survey is here. The deadline to submit your preference is Friday, August 20. If you live in the immediate area, please put your name and address in the comments section along with your concerns if there is a 5 story building in your neighborhood.

Option 1:
Buildings are 5 stories, up to 65 feet high
4 residential floors over 1/2 the allowable parking
This allows for more open space and less imperious surface lots

Option 2:
Buildings are 4 stories, up to 50 feet high
All stories are residential
All parking is on surface lots

Note that the existing property is almost all impervious surface now, so either option is  better. Also, building heights in Cranford are historically only 4 stories especially in residential areas.

The two options are detailed in this presentation from the most recent TC meeting.

After this is resolved, the draft redevelopment plan with details will be worked on by Hartz and presented in a Town Hall in late September. Date & time will be posted.


Summary and Status Updates for 2021 (oldest to newest):

UPDATE:  December 11, 2020
The Fairness and Compliance hearing is postponed until April 12, 2021.

UPDATE:  December 18, 2020
The Township of Cranford and Hartz Mountain have agreed to a “Memorandum of Understanding” for 750 Walnut Ave. It follows the negotiations referenced at the Cranford Township Town Hall on November 17th. It includes two buildings of flex warehouse space on 15 acres and 250 apartments on the other 15 acres. There will be 38 affordable housing units.

Here is the draft resolution.   Here is the Settlement Summary and PILOT

The Fairness and Compliance hearing is rescheduled for April 12, 2021.

UPDATE:  December 20, 2020
The Township of Cranford and Hartz Mountain have agreed to a settlement regarding 750 Walnut Ave. It splits the property into two 15 acre parcels. One will have flex warehouse space. The other will have 250 apartments with 38 Affordable Housing units.

They have also agreed in principle to a 30 year PILOT for the residential portion.

Here is the draft settlement resolution.

Here is the Settlement Summary and PILOT

The Fairness and Compliance hearing is rescheduled for April 12, 2021.

UPDATE:  February 25, 2021
There will be a public hearing on the latest draft Fair Share Plan on March 3, 2021. The Plan is here.

UPDATE:  March 6, 2021
On January 26, 2021, the Cranford Township Committee passed a new Draft Settlement Agreement to be submitted to FSHC with updates reflected in the Hartz Mountain settlement. Here is the Agreement.

This is the revised Draft Housing Plan Element and Fair Share Plan, dated March 3, 2021 and approved by the Township Committee on March 6, 2021.

The Fairness and Compliance hearing is still scheduled for April 12, 2021.

UPDATE:  April 22, 2021
Cranford’s Fairness and Compliance court hearing was held on April 12, 2021. Cranford submitted their final Cranford Housing Element and Fair Share Plan Final 03-03-2021 as well as the agreed on Hartz Mountain Resolution and Draft MOU, and Executed Cranford-FSHC Amended Settlement.

Cranford’s website page has these and other documents: https://www.cranfordnj.org/redevelopment-and-affordable-housing

We are waiting for the Judge’s approval and signed Judgement of Compliance and Repose. If the Judge approves, our Plan and immunity from builder’s remedy lawsuits is good until July 2025 – 4 years from now.

UPDATE:  June 9, 2021
The judge approved and signed Cranford’s Judgement of Compliance and Repose (Fair Share Plan) on May 11, 2021. Cranford has immunity from builder’s remedy lawsuits until July 2025.

Cranford held a Public Outreach Presentation on the Proposed 750 Walnut Avenue /Hartz Mountain Property on May 6, 2021
Slides from the presentation are here.

UPDATE:  July 5, 2021
On December 15, 2020, Cranford and Hartz Mountain agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) settling various disputes, including those regarding 750 Walnut Ave.

The property will be split in two 15 acre parcels. One will have 250
residential units, of which 38 are affordable units. The other half of the property will be commercial space. In addition, Cranford has agreed to a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) arrangement for Hartz Mountain.

Cranford held a Public Outreach Presentation on the Proposed 750 Walnut Avenue /Hartz Mountain Property on May 6, 2021
Slides from the presentation are here.

Hartz Mountain dropped its objections to the Township’s Fair Share Plan. With this and an amended Settlement Agreement with FSHC, the Affordable Housing Superior Court Judge  approved and signed Cranford’s Judgement of Compliance and Repose (Fair Share Plan) on May 11, 2021. Cranford has immunity from builder’s remedy lawsuits until July 2025.

Click here to see older Status Updates