This could have been affordable housing.
Instead, these 20 acres, which were originally appraised at $3.5 million were purchased by the borough for $8.2 million. Over $7
million of that came directly from Watchung taxpayers. An additional million
came from the county with a condition attached – that these be forever Green
Acres. Forever Green Acres means it can’t be built on for residential purposes,
including affordable housing. So instead we’re facing a development on Bonnie Burn Road of some 230 units, only 46 of which would be below market rate.
Anyone who’s travelled Bonnie Burn at rush hour knows how congested that
traffic already is. A new development there will only add to the problem. By
the way, the adjoining property of over 30 acres that sits in Warren was
purchased for $1.1 million. Watchung’s tax assessor currently values this property
at $2.5 million, what we paid $8 million for, probably because some
of it is toxic and can’t be remediated.