Parsippany, NJ (August 2, 2021) – Day Pitney represented Hancock Family, LLC, in negotiating the rezoning of its family farm in Westampton, New Jersey, as part of the township’s affordable housing plan. Originally, the township proposed to rezone the farm for a town center with approximately 1,100 residential units mixed with retail and office. Hancock, who had not been consulted on the town center zone, objected to the proposed rezoning due to market constraints on town center developments that called into question the viability of such rezoning.
As part of the township’s affordable housing case, Hancock proposed and negotiated a rezoning for a unique "Agrihood"concept for the property developed by LRK Consulting. This resulted in the creation of the AMU – Agrihood Mixed Use Zone.
According to Craig Gianetti, a partner at Day Pitney who represented Hancock in the rezoning, "the farm has been a family farm for several generations. Though my client was interested in some form of rezoning, they wanted it to keep the agricultural history of the property and wanted any future development to maintain some aspect of the farm. The Agrihood concept is similar to a mixed use town center concept; however, integral to the development is a core farm with which the other uses act in harmony."
The ordinance provides that:
Development of the AMU Zone will create a unique destination by supporting the continuation of agriculture and agricultural-related uses and activities, including preservation, reuse and retention of the existing farmhouse and historic barns as the focus for the Agrihood.
The AMU Zone will create a unique quality of life for residents with diverse opportunities and experiences centered on an agrarian lifestyle, community engagement, healthy living, connection to the outdoors and sense of well-being.
This Agrihood breaks the approximately 88-acre property into two components: a farmstead residential neighborhood area, consisting of 66 acres, including a 10-acre core farm; and a residential/nonresidential area consisting of 22 acres, which allows flexibility to develop all or a portion with residential or non-residential uses. The non-residential allows for retail/commercial use, such as a grocery store, farm-to-table restaurants, a farmers market and/or industrial towards the far northwest end of the property. The residential component calls for approximately 1,144 residential units, primarily multifamily, with a 20 percent set-aside for affordable housing.
Gianetti added, "Hancock is excited to have zoning that allows for the development of its property in a manner that still captures and preserves the agricultural history of its family and the Township."