Developer’s fees may not apply to areas of redevelopment in Sayreville

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SAYREVILLE – The Sayreville Borough Council is working on amending an ordinance intended to charge developers a fee if they do not include an affordable housing component in their projects.

The council introduced an ordinance amending the borough’s developer’s fee ordinance to exclude areas in need of redevelopment at a meeting on Nov. 27 and then removed a section regarding exemptions from the ordinance after concerns were raised.

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the council’s Dec. 18 meeting. The council may adopt the ordinance that evening.

In October, council members created the developer’s fee ordinance while stating their intentions to have the ordinance amended at a later date. Although council members voiced their support of the ordinance, they said they had concerns over how it was written and its potential impact on The Pointe, an ongoing $2.2 billion retail/mixed-use project.

According to Borough Attorney Michael DuPont, the amendment to the ordinance will prevent the ordinance’s fees from applying to areas designated as being in need of redevelopment. Developer fees, if any, for properties located in designated redevelopment zones will be determined by the Sayreville Economic and Redevelopment Agency (SERA) and made part of SERA for any such property.

Following the amendment ordinance’s introduction, SERA Chairman Michael D’Addio thanked the council for removing redevelopment zones from the original ordinance, but stated that he had concerns with development classes that were exempted from the ordinance’s provisions.

Development classes exempted from the ordinance included utility facilities; education, cultural, outdoor, recreation facilities; quasi public uses, including lodges, clubs and other uses; public uses; hospital uses; and others as required, according to DuPont.

D’Addio noted that under many of the defined development classes, potential developments that the borough could receive fees for were exempt from the ordinance, and found “public uses” and “others as required” to be vague definitions with the potential of creating loopholes.

“I’ve been doing land use for 18 years,” D’Addio said. “These land use developers have some of the sharpest lawyers in the state. They’re going to go through this like a piece of Swiss cheese. This paragraph needs to be taken out of this ordinance.”

After D’Addio voiced his concerns, the council approved a motion to remove the paragraph exempting the development classes from the ordinance.

Sayreville is currently in litigation over its affordable housing obligations. After the Borough Council denied two ordinances intended to assist the borough in meeting its required number of affordable units, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Arnold Natali overruled the council’s vote and ordered the adoption of the ordinances. Council members, who denied the ordinances due to concerns they and residents had over their potential negative impacts, subsequently filed an appeal of Natali’s decision.

Under a settlement agreement with Superior Court, Sayreville is required to have 785 affordable units.

Contact Matthew Sockol at [email protected].