The Township said only on-site affordable housing units. The Developer agreed.
Then they sued to change the terms.
Developer promised affordable units in Teaneck but hasn’t built any, lawsuit says
As per the Bergen Record:
“Teaneck is facing another lawsuit regarding affordable housing after a developer failed to provide two affordable units agreed upon in the site plan, the Fair Share Housing Center alleges.”
The developer signed an agreement to build two affordable units on-site. But when the Township wouldn’t let them renegotiate the agreement, they filed suit.
Back in May, attorney Gail Price filed a lawsuit for her client Red Realty against Teaneck and the head of our Building Department. At issue was the denial of a temporary certificate of occupancy to the builder.
In short, the builder applied to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (“ZBOA”) for permission to build 19 apartments back in 2015/16. Among the requirements set forth by the ZBOA, he had to:
- Build 2 Affordable Apartments in addition to Market Rate units
- Sign a developers agreement with the Township
The ZBOA grant of variance allowed for the affordable units to be built on or off site (the appeal pre-dated the ordinance requiring only on-site affordable housing units), but the developer’s agreement required only on-site and inclusionary affordable apartments.
- “E. Affordable Housing. The Applicant shall be required to provide 2 affordable housing units either within the development. Or in the alternative, the Applicant may provide 2 units elsewhere in the Township. A contribution to a fund will not be considered an option or be permitted.”
- “F (3): The within Approval is conditioned upon the Applicant entering into a Developer’s Agreement with the Township. The Developer’s Agreement shall contain the applicable conditions of this resolution.
- 59. Affordable Housing Units– The Developer shall provide not less than 2 on-siteaffordable housing units in connection with the proposed development. The Developer shall be required to comply with all legal requirements necessary to render the aforedescribed affordable housing units as affordable housing units to low and moderate income families as those terms are defined pursuant to the regulations established by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAI-l) or its successor and the Housing Affordability Controls regulations (N.J.A.C. 5:80-26 et seq.). The Applicant shall be required to take all actions necessary to insure that the unit is deemed to be an affordable housing unit acceptable to COAI-I, and shall be affirmatively marketed in compliance with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. The units shall also be deed restricted in accordance with COAH regulations and only be rented or sold to an income qualified individual.
– Developer’s Agreement with Township
When the applicant asked for permission to do off-site affordable housing units, the Township emphatically said: No!
When asked if they could have a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (“TCO”) to allow them to rent their market-rate units, the Township said: No!
So they sued. And a Judge granted their papers, ordering the Teaneck building department to give them a TCO. You can read the decision here.
But the case is not over
As per the complaint filed this week,
57. After Judge Farrington’s June 11, 2021 Order, counsel for the Township of Teaneck contacted counsel for Fair Share Housing Center.
58. Counsel for Teaneck informed FSHC of the action and what had transpired.
– Complaint filed by Fair Share (available here)
Fair Share filed a letter in the existing litigation and sued on their own as well.
“FSHC is gravely concerned that if RREA receives its TCOs for all its market-rate units before it has provided any of the required affordable housing units, the affordable homes will never be built.”
– Fair Share Housing Letter
Now, as per the Record:
“The center filed the suit Tuesday in Superior Court in Bergen County, naming not only the developer but also Teaneck and its Board of Adjustment. The attorneys for the township, the Board of Adjustment and Red Real Estate Associates were not immediately available for comment.”