• Somerville Station / Old Yard now being developed into houses

  • Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.
Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

Moderators: lensovet, nick11a, Kaback9

  by carajul
 
I guess NJT sold the dirt lot just south of the Somerville station. It's being developed by Pulte Homes into houses/condos. Just what we need more housing. Yippie. The former row of the branch that went south across Rt 206 has been paved into a residential street named "Station Road".

The ancient yard track that CR was using for storage was ripped out in the early 1980s. Branch was abandoned 1974.

NJT has a nice parking lot there now was much smaller back in the day. The CNJ main had 6 tracks thru the station now NJT only has 2.
  by lensovet
 
Indeed, and I'm not sure what's wrong with more housing? Would you prefer the California approach of not building anything and having housing prices skyrocket such that no one can afford to live there?
  by JohnFromJersey
 
lensovet wrote: Thu May 05, 2022 8:19 pm Indeed, and I'm not sure what's wrong with more housing? Would you prefer the California approach of not building anything and having housing prices skyrocket such that no one can afford to live there?
I mean, fair point, but there's good argument for going against some of the housing nonsense in NJ.
1. It eliminates a lot of open space/green area - NJ is notorious for pollution, making everything a housing development or shopping mall will not change that.

2. Less green space = less space for wildlife to go. Over the last few years in Central Monmouth County due to all the building, the number of car accidents involving deer and other wildlife is going through the roof. There's nowhere to go for them! It also doesn't help that NJ is making hunting more and more restricted, also due to all the building.

3. The infrastructure just can't handle it. If you live near Eastern Route 33, a good stretch of it is single laned, yet they continue to build many housing developments alongside. They never add in new traffic signals, nor proper turning lanes, and it just makes a mess of traffic.

4. Going off of 3, the public transit is poor. Central Jersey, like Monmouth and Ocean counties, used to have extensive railroad routes - that will never happen again, even if much of the ROW is preserved. The buses around here aren't much to brag about either, and there seems to be a stigma against them to many people - at least people are somewhat ok taking a train.

5. A more politically charged reason, when some family of yours tries to build a house in town, and the town board gives them a ton of sh*t when it comes to permits and whatnot, but that same town board gives big developers free reign to make more cookie-cutter houses, it shows that there is some shady sh*t going on.

Obviously there's a lot of housing demand and thankfully NJ is trying to meet it, unlike California, but they could certainly be doing a better job about it.
  by andrewjw
 
We're discussing housing right next to Somerville station on a dirt lot. Your points 1, 2, 3, and 4 are invalid in this context... and given that the demand is there, the options are for prices to skyrocket or housing to be built, this is just about the best possible place to do it at this price point.
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
lensovet wrote: Thu May 05, 2022 8:19 pm Indeed, and I'm not sure what's wrong with more housing? Would you prefer the California approach of not building anything and having housing prices skyrocket such that no one can afford to live there?
There is nothing wrong with new housing. My general concern is lack of affordable housing. NJ's affordable housing laws are full of loopholes that make them not "affordable". (This is also a nationwide problem, but still.)

Basically, the target demographic of the housing is my issue.
  by Ken W2KB
 
JohnFromJersey wrote: Sun May 08, 2022 11:24 pm 5. A more politically charged reason, when some family of yours tries to build a house in town, and the town board gives them a ton of sh*t when it comes to permits and whatnot, but that same town board gives big developers free reign to make more cookie-cutter houses, it shows that there is some shady sh*t going on.
Out of curiosity, if the proposed family house in town meets all provisions of the then current municipal zoning ordinance, how can the municipality obstruct?
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Ken W2KB wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 1:13 pm Out of curiosity, if the proposed family house in town meets all provisions of the then current municipal zoning ordinance, how can the municipality obstruct?
A lot of towns will let property developers bypass/speedrun through zoning boards - often due to the reasoning that the new development will create more taxpaying properties, jobs, etc. Other towns will specifically try to rezone. In Howell, there have been a lot of efforts to rezone farming/woodland blocks into industrial ones. Usually these efforts are always backed by some larger entity with lots of money.

In either case, none of these options are available to a middle-class family trying to build a house; hence they go through the process normally and it takes a longer amount of time, and it's more expensive. Especially if they have an annoying neighbor, it makes trying to do anything to their individual property a nightmare; I've seen it firsthand myself.
umtrr-author wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 6:00 pm Ken, as a native of New Jersey, I would imagine the answer to your question is "any way they feel like it."
That as well; I was trying to give some tangible answers as to Ken's question, since a town deciding to give a family doing work to their house a specific problem is a town-by-town basis; some towns will be better about it, others won't, but many of them seem to love giving big property developers with lots of money more leeway.

As long as municipal zoning ordinances are enforced by people who can be biased (vs. say, a computer making a judgement), there's always going to be an issue.
  by lensovet
 
Roadgeek Adam wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 9:30 am
lensovet wrote: Thu May 05, 2022 8:19 pm Indeed, and I'm not sure what's wrong with more housing? Would you prefer the California approach of not building anything and having housing prices skyrocket such that no one can afford to live there?
There is nothing wrong with new housing. My general concern is lack of affordable housing. NJ's affordable housing laws are full of loopholes that make them not "affordable". (This is also a nationwide problem, but still.)

Basically, the target demographic of the housing is my issue.
I presume you've never looked at affordable housing or read about the Mt. Laurel decision? New Jersey probably has some of the most stringent affordable housing requirements in the country and it's often towns who get in the way of affordable housing. Pretty much every new development these days gets approved because developers threaten to go to court over not being allowed to build affordable housing.
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
I also have seen "affordable housing" in the borough in Jersey I grew up in be ignored. The only one who can afford it makes 6 digits.
  by lensovet
 
Roadgeek Adam wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 8:36 pm I also have seen "affordable housing" in the borough in Jersey I grew up in be ignored. The only one who can afford it makes 6 digits.
I'm not sure I follow. How can housing be "ignored"?
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
The development that was built in the borough I grew up had no property sell for less than $173,000 in a cluster of townhowmes going for $400-$600K.

When I think "affordable housing", that ain't it.
  by lensovet
 
I mean…it's less than half the market rate. Not sure how much more affordable it can be.

And the easiest way to lower prices — tried and true market capitalism — is to build more houses. The only reason prices go up is due to scarcity.
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
lensovet wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 9:56 pm I mean…it's less than half the market rate. Not sure how much more affordable it can be.

And the easiest way to lower prices — tried and true market capitalism — is to build more houses. The only reason prices go up is due to scarcity.
See my brain thinks "Section 8" when it comes to "affordable housing". We need more properties at Section 8 eligibility level. That's just my beef.