THE LAND USE PLAN
The land Use Plan partially represents the remedial action deemed necessary to resolve the foregoing major problems, as well as lesser ones. The proposals are framed in a realistic economic framework which will tend to induce private redevelopment of certain areas of the Township and direct new development toward a more efficient and functional community. While some of the recommendations may be carried out at once, or in the next few years, the Plan shows total development so that planning decisions made now and in the future may fit into a logical pattern for Teaneck's growth.
RESIDENTIAL LAND USE
The relatively low-density suburban character of Teaneck can remain essentially unimpaired in the future even though the Plan proposes a nominal increase in the amount of land to be used at a medium-density level and introduces high-density residential development.
LOW-DENSITY (Five to Eight Families to the Acre).
The low-density areas substantially reflect existing development patterns. It includes one, two, and three-family housing with prevailing lot sizes of from 4,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet. Very little land is left in the Township for one-family housing. A number of new building lots will be made available through the sale of Township-owned parcels which are not otherwise reserved for some public use. Most of these holdings which will be recommended for public sale over an extended time period are concentrated in the vicinity of Argonne Park in the north-east section of the Township and in the Glenwood Avenue neighborhood.
There are a number of approaches to the handling of the problem of deteriorating housing in these two areas, as well as the prevention of deterioration in other areas. The first is to do nothing. An argument can be made that all residential areas in Teaneck have shown tremendous vitality in the past ten years. In the northeast area, east of Teaneck Road, since 1950, 518 new one-family dwelling units have been built. In the southeast area, which includes the deteriorating housing, in the same period 326 one-family units have been built. About one-third of the new one-family homes built during the 1951-1960 period have gone into these areas which, together, comprise about one-quarter of the residentially developed portions of the Township.
Unfortunately, these areas of incipient deterioration have not contracted and as these areas of the Township continue to fill in, the problem may become greater. Therefore, to expect a voluntary improvement of property or spontaneous redevelopment of the rundown homes in the long run is not warranted, despite the proven desirability of these areas at this time.
The Glenwood Avenue area, indicated on the land Use Plan as "A Future Neighborhood Design Study" will be the subject of a special study to be undertaken in the near future by the Planning Board. This course of action is desirable because: (1) There is some scattered, deteriorating housing in the area intermixed with higher quality housing; (2) An inefficient and deteriorating street system; and (3) A scattering of municipally owned parcels of land with questionable value as potential parkland. Thus the future pattern of land use and, moreover, the appropriate densities are subject to question. This design study will provide the basis for any change in zoning, the disposal of public lands and the provision of major improvements in the area.
MEDIUM-DENSITY (Twenty Families to the Acre). Garden Apartments and Town Houses.
There are presently in Teaneck 1,900 dwelling units in 56 apartment buildings. They are generally scattered along Teaneck Road, Cedar Lane and Fort Lee Road, following the strip business zones as they are permitted uses under the existing ordinance. The major concentration is found in the Plaza area which has been long established as a multi-family housing area. Existing densities range between 20 to 31 dwellings per acre.
Four specific factors have a bearing on the "need" for apartments in Teaneck;
- There is a tremendous over-all demand for housing in Teaneck. The vacancy rate of 1.4% indicates a very tight housing market. The demand reflects the pleasant suburban character of Teaneck and its locational advantage so sought after by suburban residence seekers.
- People desiring to live in Teaneck have varying socio-economic characteristics and, consequently, different housing needs and tastes. The existing and measurable demand is primarily oriented to home-owning, while the potential and unmeasurable demand might also include a substantial number of rental unit occupants.
- A higher and better use of the land is needed in those areas in the Township primarily along the major arteries, where the existing one-family homes have in some cases partially deteriorated and the demand is not sufficient to stimulate economic forces into self-renewal or regeneration. The alternative land uses are offices, retail shops or apartments.
- A solution is needed to aid in the utilization of those vacant lands in the Township which are not particularly desirable for one-family development or are too costly to develop for such low intensity uses.
With respect to the locational pattern of garden apartments, these last two factors played a key role in selecting the appropriate sites for additional apartment construction in the Township.
GARDEN APARTMENTS: Based upon extensive studies in northern New Jersey communities, two types of persons or families are likely to occupy garden apartment-type dwelling units. (1) Young married couples with no children or one or two pre-school age children, two-thirds of whom usually relocate to one-family residences when the children become of school age; and (2) Married couples over 45 whose children have left home and who prefer not to continue to maintain their private homes. The characteristics of the garden apartments as suggested under the proposed zoning ordinance include a maximum 2½ story height limitation, not more than 20 dwelling units per acre, a minimum of 30,000 square feet for the lot size, and subject to strict landscaping and design standards.
TOWN HOUSES: On two limited areas in the northern section of the Township, the provision of town houses as a possible alternative to conventional one-family homes is being suggested. With a recommended density of not more than five dwelling units per acre (which is, in fact, less than several of the one-family neighborhoods), and not more than five dwelling units in a group, such attached dwellings with intensively developed and enclosed outdoor living space offer an exciting new opportunity to create an attractively balanced suburban environment. In essence, they would not be unlike the much imitated but rarely duplicated community of Radburn. Although they have a potential appeal to the same basic population group as garden apartments, they more than likely would attract families with some children in Teaneck where the demand for one-family dwelling types is so great. The fact that town houses must attain a dignified status to insure their success, coupled with the provision of greater livability inherent in each unit attracts a higher income group than the average garden apartment.
HIGH-DENSITY (Thirty Families to the Acre).
The social, economic and physical impact of tower apartments was carefully explored before a decision was reached to provide a limited area in the Township for their construction. Only one site is proposed being selected for its unique appeal to such a structure or structures and for the maximum degree of compatibility with the over-all Township image and the surrounding local environment. They will be subject to stringent design standards, thus insuring the highest degree of architectural merit and functional living space. The potential rental market for these luxury apartment types includes the unmarried professionals, young married couples without children where often both work, older couples who have given up housekeeping, and a variety of executive and managerial types. The minimum size of the tract indicated on the Plan results in a potential maximum number of 300 dwelling units.
COMMERCIAL LAND USE
Today Teaneck has 198 acres of land devoted to stores and offices. This is four per cent of the Township's developed land area. Most of this is concentrated along Cedar Lane, Teaneck Road, the Plaza and Queen Anne Road between Fort Lee Road and Degraw Avenue. Sporadic commercial development, although in conformance with the present zoning ordinance, has occurred along Fort Lee Road, Glenwood Avenue and Forest Avenue. These areas have become residential in character over the years and thus the commercial uses tend to be non-conforming. Several parcels along Cedar Lane have never developed into business uses because of the insufficient depth to allow for the adequate provision of off-street parking and their general severance from the rest of the business area. In a number of other business areas where stores declined in importance, they have been replaced by professional and commercial offices and garden apartments.
The two main areas where there is a nominal concentration of commercial deterioration are (1) The Queen Anne Road-Fort Lee Road intersection and (2) The West Englewood Avenue section of the Plaza area, where a number of vacant stores are found.
Overall, the Land Use Plan represents a reduction in the amount of land to be used for commercial activities from that which is presently zoned. One significant area is the neighborhood center in the vicinity of the Queen Anne Road-Fort lee Road intersection. There is evidence of a gradual lack of appeal of this center, despite the popularity of several of the stores. Renewal of parts of the block between Fort lee Road and Degraw Avenue is needed. Yet, any intensification of commercial activities in this area would produce a serious traffic problem due to the expected increase of traffic on Degraw Avenue. Thus, a transition from scattered one-family homes and mixed commercial-residential uses to garden apartments is provided for.
The Land Use Plan establishes professional and commercial office areas. Restricting retail and other commercial activities, these areas would be for the exclusive development of professional offices, medical and dental clinics, business, governmental and utility company offices, banks and other financial institutions. This clustering effect is already occurring in several locations in Teaneck. Some of the recommended locations are particularly advantageous for this type of development in that they can be expected to be relatively low-traffic generating uses.
There is little doubt that both the Cedar lane and the Plaza shopping areas are generally burdened with visual unattractiveness and functional inefficiencies. As pleasant as it is to dream of pedestrian malls, greater consolidation of shops in one location, parking by every door and a prosperity which shines through every pane of glass, Teaneck should dream for more immediate and practical results--at least for the present. Some additional off-street parking can be established, obvious eyesores can be removed, signs and advertising can take on a more discriminating and tasteful appearance, street trees in either the sidewalk pavement or in planters can be installed, and the general attractiveness can be restored. Only after individual and collective organization between the business community and the Township can a more detailed plan evolve.
INDUSTRIAL LAND USE
Occupying only 26 acres, industrial activity is the smallest user of the developed land in Teaneck. The major concentration is located in the industrial park at Alfred Avenue where land is available for only one additional plant. Presently in the process of being developed further is the area in the vicinity of West Tryon Avenue and Palisades Avenue where "glamour" firms such as Rolls Royce and Cokesbury Regional Publishing Company are located. The Land Use Plan indicates expansion of this area from that which is presently zoned, northerly along Palisades Avenue extension to Sackville Street. Most of these lands are presently owned by the Township.
Mixed concentration of industry and commercial activities is found in the area between Chestnut Avenue, Front Street and the West Shore Railroad. At present the area is far from realizing its economic potential. The Land Use Plan as well as the Circulation Plan partially attempts to create some of the conditions necessary for private actions to succeed in upgrading and generally redeveloping the area. The area will be established for exclusive industrial purposes and subject to the same rigid performance standards as the other existing industrial parks. The Circulation Plan recommends the extension of Windsor Road, in the long-rage future, and the construction of a new bridge linking Kipp Street and Vandelinda Avenue in the near future. Both proposals, if carried out, will greatly increase accessibility to this area. Teaneck has succeeded in attracting a small amount of highly selective light industry, particularly wholesaling and distribution activities. With Teaneck's strategic location in the local region, there' is reason to expect continued success on the part of Teaneck in receiving these industries.