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New Siena Construction Will Be Rental Units

One township committeeman is worried the renters will outweigh the buyers.

Late last year, J.S. Hovnanian—the group behind , the 55 and over housing community off Route 130—.

Six months later, the group has teamed up with a real estate company to erect more buildings that will be available for lease.

However, one township committeeman doesn’t think the public will be happy with the transition.

“I’m really concerned about the general attitude of the public that Cinnaminson has always been a bedroom community,” Committeeman Ben Young said.

However, Young voted along with the other members of (minus Mayor Don Brauckmann who was absent) for Hovnanian to move forward with the project under the auspice the group would visit the planning board next.

Peter Hovnanian and Eric Woodmont, of Woodmont Properties, a regional real estate company, brought their idea to township committee last week for approval. Since there are some changes to the original agreement, officials will have to get planning board approval as well.

Hovnanian said he understands Young’s concerns, but nothing is changing in the fact that age-restricted condominiums are still going to be offered—just some can be leased and some can be bought outright.

“We have found in today’s market that there is a segment that is interested in leasing rather than buying,” Hovnanian said. “We have not changed the character or intent of the community. What we have now done is to adjust to what the market has told us is a great opportunity.”

Hovnanian said the new lease-to-buy option is “a positive thing for the community” and already, 17 homes have been leased in the past four months.

“In three years, we haven’t been able to sell twice that much,” Hovnanian said.

Currently, the south side of Siena is occupied. North of Siena Boulevard is where Hovnanian said the “footprint modification” will be. The new condos will be slightly smaller units fit for renting. The number of units has not changed from the original layout; the group still anticipates 204 condominiums spread out over 12 buildings.

Young is concerned about the current owners at Siena but Hovnanian said he and Woodmont met with homeowners and they responded positively.

“I’m surprised the current owners were enthusiastic,” Young said.

Deputy Mayor Anthony Minniti, who serves as the director of economic development, said the new push to lease-to-buy is “precisely the product this community needs.”

Minniti said he agrees with Young and is against cluster housing, but that’s not what this is.

“Other than what we know as it being a different ownership situation, no one would ever know it’s a rental community,” Minniti said. “These are not apartments. These are not cluster housing. It’s still the exact same product.”

The reason Hovnanian must go before the township for approval is because Siena is part of Cinnaminson redevelopment zone.

John L July 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM
What happens if they can't lease all the units...what happens next? I don't see them having much luck renting or selling, do they have a back up plan?
Maynard July 27, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Christina - Why would they need further approval - seems that once you let the cat out of the bag it's hard to go back. We are just hearing about this now!!! Am looking forward to your story about how this affects the PILOT. Am not being a conspiracy theorist here but finding out about these things constantly after the fact makes one wonder. The committee slipped through the 30 year PILOT for the shopping center without the public knowing about it and tried to do the same for Siena until it became public knowledge and were called out on it by the public. I can't wait to hear their explanation for this!
Christina Paciolla July 27, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Maynard, They needed further approval because Woodmont was taking on the property management of the new buildings. The entire project is part of a redevelopment plan therefore they need township approval to move forward with anything significant, and planning board approval if any site plan issues change. But just to let you know—all this is done in open public meetings. It's all on the agenda of the township meeting. When Hovnanian went to the township originally, it was during a public meeting that was advertised. Same thing with last week's meeting. I can't speak about the PILOT for the shopping center—I, nor Cinnaminson Patch, was in town at that time.
JustALocalGuy July 27, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Livingincin, we could go back and forth arguing with links we paste from different sources we cherry-pick to support our arguments. So what? The fact is, everyone isn't capable of owning property, and encouraging people without the resources to do it is complete folly, and is largely responsible for our current financial problems.
TAFN August 09, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Committeeman Ben Young was right on the money and should go with his gut instinct on the "Proposed Leasing Situation." As a resident of Siena, I can tell you that NOT everyone is in favor of this plan and some are quite upset about the proposed changes! We DO NOT have anything against renters, and I myself have rented and taken great care of the property. However we bought our condos; and now to change the Master Plan after we have made our purchase is just wrong. Also, what is unnerving is that Hovnanian is picking up the renters HOA fees. SO, while my husband and I pay $255. a month in fees, the renters are not. How does this seem fair? Not to mention that we are paying our fees to a company that is not very responsive and our overall landscaping and appearance looks terrible. Now, as they start the next building, it looks even worse! The dirt and debis left from the construction site is quite an eyesore. I understand that construction makes a mess, but why can't a truck come down at the end of the day and clean up? I have lived in 2 other communites that where not fully built and when construction took place, a water truck came down the street & cleaned and the trash was removed. This was paid by the BUILDERS, and it was so that the current residents could still live in a clean community. THE dirt and debris left over is on our patios, windows, and the nails and sharp objects are tearing up our tires. LOVELY! Very disappointed in the situation.

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