Affordable housing component required in Sayreville to avoid developer fee

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SAYREVILLE – An ordinance intended to charge developers a fee in Sayreville if they do not include an affordable housing component in their projects has been adopted by the Borough Council.

Council President Daniel Buchanan and council members Steven Grillo, Victoria Kilpatrick, Pat Lembo and Ricci Melendez voted to approve on adopting the ordinance on Dec. 18. Councilwoman Mary Novak was absent.

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.

The ordinance previously provided exemptions from the ordinance’s provisions for certain development classes. These exemptions were removed from the ordinance prior to its Nov. 27 introduction due to concerns over how the exemptions would impact the borough’s ability to charge developer fees.

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.