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AVALON - At the Sept. 8 Avalon Council meeting, borough officials presented the recommendation of a special committee formed to consider enclosed attached garages and their relationship to the floor area ratio (FAR) calculation. 

The recommendation is that garages be removed from the FAR, with specific requirements that must be met, including the use of the space solely for parking a car or general storage. New enforcement mechanisms were also discussed. 

According to borough code, the FAR calculation is the sum of the habitable area of all floors of a structure or unit in relation to the total area of the site. The formula is complicated, with various exceptions. The issue, as presented to the council, arose because of several violations involving enclosed garages and the definition of habitable space. 

The issue gains importance because space below flood elevation levels that can be defined as finished space can impact points in the Community Rating System (CRS), which provides discounts to all flood insurance premiums in the community.  

Avalon is one of two communities in New Jersey at a Class 3 level and it seeks to attain a higher Class 2 level. Anything that negatively impacts the CRS rating would have a ripple effect across the borough. 

Council instructed borough officials to move forward with the development of the proposal and draft ordinance amendments that would also include what the committee recommends as significant penalties for violations. 

The proposal will return to the council and the public in a more finished form at a later date. 

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