Newark upzones, makes hotel development as-of-right

Changes will also encourage more high-density housing

Newark Upzones, Makes Hotel Development as of Right
A photo illustration of Mayor of Newark Ras Baraka (Getty)

Newark adopted a series of zoning changes that developers figure to embrace.

The City Council narrowly passed the controversial measures last week, TAPinto Newark reported. There was tension over the speed of the changes and whether or not the community had enough time for input, but calls for a pause fell on deaf ears.

Developers will now be able to build hotels as-of-right, rather than either being prohibited altogether or being forced to meet a range of conditions.

There will be fewer areas zoned for one-, two- and three-family homes, while apartment buildings will be able to rise higher. The city already requires 20 percent of units to be affordable for projects of at least 15 units, so the encouragement of taller and larger projects should boost affordable housing stock as well, though it’s unclear by how much.

The revisions will also allow many more business uses — including bars, tattoo parlors and smoke shops — in residential zones. Accessory dwelling units will be permitted on the same lots as existing single-family homes, creating more affordable housing.

The changes are also designed to encourage high-density housing development, ease home business restrictions, increase market-rate and affordable housing options, and tighten warehouse development, according to

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The deputy mayor for economic and housing development touted the move as a win for Newark, where some areas have been starved of investment.

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Not everyone concurs. Some residents raised concerns about whether the affordability requirements would benefit priced-out citizens of New Jersey’s biggest city. Additionally, fears of local developers being sidelined — despite some showing support for the changes — and how the character of neighborhoods will be affected were brought up.

City officials, led by Mayor Ras Baraka, argued in favor of the measures, saying they would revitalize neighborhoods, add needed businesses and services, create jobs and make the city more walkable.

The zoning changes are scheduled to take effect 21 days after last Wednesday’s vote, right before Thanksgiving.

Holden Walter-Warner