JC wins court battle to force developer to provide artist housing

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, the City Council, and City Corporation Counsel Bill Matsikoudis announced recently that the New Jersey Appellate Division had upheld a trial court determination that will make way for seven artists to live and work in the 11-story luxury residence known as 311 Washington St., also known as Washington Commons.
In the decision just announced in Washington Commons, LLC v. City of Jersey City, Mayor, Council, Council President and Zoning Board of Adjustment of Jersey City, Docket No. A-6560-06T2, the builder challenged its obligation to set aside seven out of 68 units as artist “work/live” units and convey them to the city for $1 each, suing the Mayor, the City Council, Council President Mariano Vega and the city’s Zoning Board on several counts, including constitutional claims.
The builder also demanded payment for the cost of the units, which the builder claimed were valued at more than $400,000 each.
However, as the trial court and then the Appellate Division emphasized, in 2004 the Board of Adjustment approved the developer’s site plan, granting several variances partially because the artists’ affordable units were considered by the Board of Adjustment to be “inherently beneficial” to the community and promised to be conveyed for $1 each. – Ricardo Kaulessar

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