Settlement adds affordable housing to transit village

Staff Writer

North Brunswick will settle a lawsuit over the massive MainStreetNB transit village project by requiring that 12 percent of its homes be designated as affordable housing.

The Township Council voted Feb. 10 to authorize the settlement agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC), which in 2010 filed a lawsuit against the township and the project’s developer, North Brunswick TOD Associates. The suit charged that the project should include lowto moderate-income housing.

As a result of the settlement, more than 200 of the planned 1,875 units will have to be set aside as affordable housing.

“This is an agreement where everyone’s happy,” Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack said.

The mixed-use, transit-village project is planned for the 212-acre former Johnson & Johnson property at 2300 Route 1 North.

In addition to the residential units, the development will include 300,000 square feet of freestanding, large retail establishments; 450,000 square feet of mixed-use retail and commercial space; 50,000 square feet of freestanding commercial space; and 195,000 square feet of office space. There will also be a 250,000-square-foot hotel.

Construction of a Costco and Target has already started. The stores are expected to open this year.

The project will also include a train station. NJ Transit went to bid last year on the design and construction of the $30 million facility.

The lawsuit stemmed from the Planning Board’s approval of the project, which stipulated that it would comply with regulations set by the former Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), according to Womack and Township Business Administrator Robert Lombard.

“Fair Share [Housing Center] took issue with that because COAH was in such a state of flux,” Womack said.

Gov. Chris Christie abolished COAH in 2011 and transferred its responsibilities to the Department of Community Affairs.