MILLVILLE – City zoning officials this week will consider whether a privately owned community of 322 modular houses would be a good fit along Cedar Street, an area opposite the airport that Millville reserves for industrial and agricultural uses.
The site proposed for Liberty Village III is approximately 95 acres, undeveloped but for one homestead on a horse farm. It is not far from the existing Four Seasons adult-only residential community on Buckshutem Road.
Developer Frank Carpino has built similar “lease land” private communities in South Jersey. The proposed community would be similar in concept to the Liberty Village community here at 1901 S. Second Street, a smaller and age-restricted community Carpino built.
More:Preserved Millville farm hosts celebrating state officials, environmentalists
More:Landfill co-generation system powers contaminated water cleanup
Carpino, a city resident, said Monday that his plan is build and sell a selection of two-bed and three-bed, modular construction, single-family houses. The price range is set at $114,900 at the low end, rising to $150,000 to $160,000.
As with Liberty Village on South Second Street, the developer would own the land and homeowners would lease lots while owning their homes.
Carpino said the community would offer a type of housing and living style Millville largely lacks, and also comes at a time new housing is in demand. Services such as landscape maintenance, trash collection, snow removal, and water and sewer utilities, would be handled by the owner instead of the city, he said.
“And with a private, land lease community, you can do that,” Carpino said. “You can keep the amenities, give the people a safe place to live. To the person who may be at the (New Jersey Motorsports Track) and would like to have a secondary home … available to them, they don’t have to worry about taking care of their lawn or snow.”
The disclosure of the project has generated some local opposition. A circular was distributed urging a property owner turnout at the Zoning Board hearing Thursday night.
“I’ve seen the circular and it says that it devalues the property in the area,” Carpino said. “And I can tell you that’s what people said about South Second Street, too. It didn’t bring that down, either.”
City Zoning Officer Wayne Caregnato criticized the circular, saying it falsely describes the proposed community as a trailer park.
“And I really don’t understand,” Caregnato said. “I really think it’s something that is needed here right now, because we just don’t have that type of housing readily available.”
Caregnato also said describing the project as “affordable housing” is inaccurate.
“I don’t understand where everybody’s getting that,” Caregnato said. “It’s not COAH affordable housing. It’s a regular development with modular homes on it. The lots are over 5,000 square feet.”
The application identifies the sites as four lots with addresses including 2410 Cedar Street, 2146 Cedar Street, and 2424 Cedar Street. The proposed site offers just less than 95 acres, including a roughly 39-acre horse farm.
Carpino said he expects it will take 10 to 12 years to build all the houses.
Caregnato said Trinity Management Development Co., which owns more than half the proposed site, had intended to build houses there but the project never occurred.
Attorney Matt Robinson, who represents Carpino, said city government would collect a $50 fee per month, per house under an existing ordinance.
“And that’s just for the pad fees,” Robinson said. “And obviously, there’s going to be a property tax bump for all the affixed improvements there. So, there’s going to be substantial revenue from that.”
Joe Smith is a N.E. Philly native transplanted to South Jersey more than 30 years ago, keeping an eye now on government in South Jersey. He is a former editor and current senior staff writer for The Daily Journal in Vineland, Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, and the Burlington County Times.
Have a tip? Reach out at (856) 563-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter, @jpsmith-dj. Help support local journalism with a subscription.