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?