On Tuesday night, the Freehold Borough Council was asked to make a decision on a redevelopment presentation about turning a Hudson Street property into a boarding home.
The property, owned by borough resident Yilmaz Hassan is currently used as a multi-dwelling property. The property, located at 62 Hudson Street, is a two-and-a-half floor structure with two one-bedroom apartments on the first floor. At the Freehold Borough Council meeting, Hassan, his lawyer and Professional Planner Michael Geller presented an application to the council asking them to allow Hassan to turn the other level of the property into seven bedrooms with an occupancy with one person per bedroom. The property would also have a common dining area and bathroom for the occupants.
While most property applications are heard in front of the Planning Board, the Council was required to hear this particular presentation because boarding homes are currently not allowed under the core redevelopment plan.
“Under the core redevelopment plan, the council is the redevelopment entity. Any deviation to use requirements can only be accomplished through an amendment to the plan. So in other words, they [applicants] cannot come to the board for a variance for a use. If it is not a permitted use under the redevelopment plan, then they would have to ask the council to amend the ordinance accordingly,” said Borough Attorney Kerry Higgins.
During the presentation, Higgins provided the definition of a boarding home and noted that currently, boarding homes are not a permitted use in the borough.
“A dwelling unit is defined as one or more rooms arranged for the use of one or more individuals living together as a single house-keeping unit with cooking, living and sanitation facilities; which is really not the definition of a boarding home. The definition of a boarding home means any dwelling in which more than three persons either individual or as families, lodge for hire with or without meals. A rooming house shall be deemed a boarding house,” said Higgins. “Under the core redevelopment, it does not mention boarding homes and it certainly could have if it wanted to. It says residential housing unit, that’s what it does say. You [the Council] must make a determination as to whether you believe a boarding house is a permitted use under the core redevelopment zone.”
Attorney Vincent Halleran Jr, who recently represented David Rosenbaum in front of the Planning Board during the Yeshiva Dormitory application represented Hassan. The case for allowing 62 Hudson Street to become a boarding home came from Geller, who stated that the property had previously been used as a boarding home in the past.
“We would like the council to recognize that this is a pre-existing use, one that was historically used as a boarding house and we feel that it is appropriate for it to be continued as such a use,” explained Geller.
In addition to the historical use, Geller mentioned that the properties surrounding 62 Hudson Street have a variety of different uses.
After hearing from Halleran, Hassan, and Higgins, the council voted to determine if a boarding home on Hudson Street would be a permitted use under the core redevelopment zone.
Mayor Nolan Higgins and Councilman Michael DiBenedetto both abstained from voting. Mayor Higgins abstained due to his close property location while DiBeneditto abstained due to close property proximity and professional dealings with Geller. Councilman Ron Griffiths was absent at the meeting.
The remaining Councilmembers unanimously agreed that a boarding home on Hudson Street is not a permitted used under the core redevelopment plan.
“The boarding house, in my opinion, is not permitted. I think we zone by ordinance and our ordinance is pretty specific on what things are not permitted. We spent a lot of time on this ordinance, and I don’t view this as the vision that I think we wanted. I tend to vote no on this as well, that boarding houses are not permitted,” said Councilman George Schnurr.