A new six-story development that is being constructed in Jersey City was unanimously approved back in 2018 with several conditions, one of which mentioned a plan to make 20 percent of the units “affordable” for veterans. Now, the Staten Island developer behind the project is asking for the Jersey City Planning Board to amend the approval in order to eliminate the condition in question.
205 Baldwin Avenue, LLC, which is in the process of building the 45-unit complex at 211 Baldwin Avenue near Journal Square, submitted an application earlier this year calling for the removal of condition L of the 2018 approval resolution for the project.
This condition states that a “20% veterans’ affordable housing units condition will be detailed in a redeveloper’s agreement that must be submitted and approved by JCRA,” a reference to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.
Attorney Ronald Shaljian wrote in part in a January letter to the Planning Board that during a September 2018 meeting, the developer “offhandedly suggested he would be willing to make 20% of the units available to veterans,” adding that “this was not required, nor requested by the City, but was included in the record as a condition of approval.”
Shaljian’s letter mentioned that following a previous development proposal by the former owner of the site, 205 Baldwin Avenue, LLC received an administrative amendment in 2015 in order to allow for an eight-story building with 40 units. A five-year tax abatement for this plan was reportedly approved in 2016, but “due to market conditions and the technical complexity of the construction,” this six-story 45-unit version of the project was introduced in 2018.
Shaljian added that the developer had already paid thousands into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and expected to transfer the tax abatement to this new form of the development, but that “due to a change in policy, the City refused to grant any PILOT [payment in lieu of taxes] to this project.”
The company also sought a “$1M affordable housing grant from the City for veterans housing,” but Shaljian’s letter claimed only a $500,000 grant with “onerous conditions” would be provided and that 205 Baldwin Avenue, LLC has already declined this offer.
An interdepartmental memo from Senior Planner Cameron Black to the commissioners of the board on July 15 said that the staff of the Division of City Planning recommends denying this proposed issuance of an amendment eliminating condition L, citing the board’s original decision and agreed upon conditions.
The Jersey City Planning Board is scheduled to hear the latest application on the matter during a Zoom hearing this Tuesday, July 21 at 5:30 p.m.
Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be heard by the Jersey City Planning Board and other commissions are subject to change.