Neighborhood Group Looks to Increase Journal Square’s Inclusionary Zoning

Journal Squared Journal Square Jersey City 2
Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Journal Squared development. Phase 3 is underway. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

A community organization representing one of the fastest-growing areas of Jersey City is hoping to compel officials into requiring more affordable housing in new developments in their neighborhood.

During their November meeting, members of the Journal Square Community Association (JSQCA) voted in support of enacting stricter affordable housing requirements within the area. The five-year-old group currently has over 130 dues-paying members and organizes the annual Bergen Square Day celebration, among other work in the community.

The JSQCA is supporting a plan that would add language to the Jersey City inclusionary housing ordinance, which was introduced last month. The city’s latest proposal would require all new developments over 15 residences within the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan that request more than four additional units or an additional 5,000 square feet of residential floor area through a redevelopment plan to set aside 10% of their units as affordable housing.

The plan from JSQCA would double that requirement, as the group is proposing that all developments within the zone over 30 residential units be required to devote a minimum of 20% of their units to affordable housing for a period of no less than 50 years. The language in the proposal dictates that the affordable units cannot be built off-site or granted a payment-in-lieu exemption and that all portions of any multi-phase project include the 20% designated units.

“The JSQCA welcomes the Fulop administration’s announcement of a plan to enact a new city-wide Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, which would be applicable to all new developments of 15 units or more seeking a variance,” the group said. “However, the JSQCA believes that with rising property values in Journal Square, developers of properties of 30 units or more should be bringing larger proportions of affordable housing units into the neighborhood regardless of whether they are seeking a variance.”

The Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan currently has no inclusionary zoning requirement at all, which has allowed massive towers to rise throughout the area for years without adding any affordable housing to the neighborhood.

The JSQCA says they will be asking the Jersey City Planning Department to prepare the necessary documents regarding their proposal for City Council review, which could happen as early as their December 15 meeting. The group also endorsed a scheme to develop a tax incentive program to support affordable housing in Journal Square and around the city, which they claim will be released in the coming months.


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