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What is a “Builder’s Remedy Lawsuit?” – Why worry in Ridgewood?

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2009 at 7:40 pm

A “Builder’s Remedy Lawsuit” is simply legal action taken by a property developer in an attempt to force a municipality to permit construction of a large, multi-family housing structure or complex.

Typically, the developer’s court brief will make specific mention of the Mt. Laurel decision, a landmark case that holds municipalities responsible for providing affordable housing to low and moderate income households.

Many local officials believe that “Builder’s Remedy Lawsuits” are used by developers to force the construction of unneeded housing under the guise of providing affordable housing for those that need it most, when in reality they are only interested in building large quantities of market rate homes for profit.

By filing an affordable housing plan with the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), the State of NJ office responsible for determining affordable housing requirements, municipalities can protect themselves against “Builder’s Remedy Lawsuits.”

In Ridgewood, there is currently only one pending zoning application associated with the proposed construction of a large, multi-family housing structure/complex; submitted by the Baker Group, for property located on Paramus Road, just north of Linwood Avenue.

It is being speculated that Zoning Board of Adjustment members will reject the Baker Group’s application, primarily due to heavy opposition being voiced by members of the Salem Ridge Homeowners’ Association.

Despite the absence of COAH designated affordable housing units in the Baker Group’s original plan, rejection of their application could trigger a counter proposal from Baker, that includes affordable housing units (more units in total), and a subsequent “Builder’s Remedy Lawsuit” against the Village if the revised plan were rejected.

Additionally, Village officials are still fearful that a developer might snatch up the Schedler property, and subsequently apply for permission to construct a large number of housing units there (and file a “Builder’s Remedy Lawsuit” if such permission is denied). This is why Village Council members have targeted the purchase of Schedler for open space use.

It would seem the only place Planning Board and Village Council members seem willing to accept the construction of new, multi-family housing is on South Broad Street.

And since there has been absolutely no open public discussion about this topic, The Fly is at a total loss to explain why affordable housing is fine for South Broad Street, but bad for every other neighborhood in which it was even suggested as being a possibility.

What’s your best guess?

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  1. NIMBY

  2. The Fly said, “Despite the absence of COAH designated affordable housing units in the Baker Group’s original plan, rejection of their application could trigger a counter proposal from Baker, that includes affordable housing units…”

    This statement in incorrect. Baker’s plan does contain affordable housing units.

  3. “This statement in incorrect. Baker’s plan does contain affordable housing units.”

    There are NO affordable housing units in the Baker proposal that are being endorsed by the Village. None were included in the official Village submission to COAH. Therefore, The Fly’s statement is correct.

  4. Municipalities Submit Housing Plans to COAH by December 31, 2008 Deadline
    By: Henry T. Chou, Esq.

    By the end of the day on December 31, 2008, 234 out of 302 eligible municipalities had filed housing elements and fair share plans (“housing plans”) with the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”). By doing so, those municipalities maintained their immunity from builder’s remedy lawsuits. With the exception of municipalities in the Highlands that were previously under COAH’s jurisdiction, municipalities that have not filed housing plans with COAH are now vulnerable to builder’s remedy lawsuits. In mid-December 2008, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and several legislators requested COAH and Governor Corzine to grant an extension of the December 31 deadline, but the requests were denied.

  5. Guess who was late with the paperwork?

    http://www.nj.gov/dca/affiliates/coah/reports/

  6. Everybody should be grateful to the previous council for purchasing the Habernickel property. I know it was expensive and it is not completed. But instead of constantly complaining think of this. This property would have been so easily acquired by a developer who sought a builders remedy- look as the old mill case in Franklin Lakes- One hundred Condos could easily have fit- thats two hundred cars and maybe one hundred children in Willard thus changing the needs of that school. I am so happy this was avoided.

  7. It’s not too late to build ratables on Habernickel. It is a mess in it’s current state. Just build 50 units.

  8. 10:18, the fly’s statement in paragraph #6 is incorrect. I know it is hard for some people to accept that the infallible source, otherwise known as the fly, can get it wrong.

  9. Habernickel is a big waist!

  10. correction to 7:00 pm post, I meant paragraph #7, not #6

  11. Could the fly explain why the Zoning Board recently voted down a community residence at 234 South Broad St that contained 10 affordable units?

    This action contradicts the fly’s insinuation that the Village sticking it to the Broad St residents.

  12. “Could the fly explain why the Zoning Board recently voted down a community residence at 234 South Broad St that contained 10 affordable units?

    This action contradicts the fly’s insinuation that the Village sticking it to the Broad St residents.”

    See page 5 of the linked housing plan submitted to COAH. The Village has included 10 COAH qualified units at this address on South Broad Street. The assumption is that West Bergen Mental Health will come back with a modified application.

    http://www.ridgewoodnj.net/pdf/COAH/HousingPlan1216ADOPTED.pdf

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