NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The City Council approved the only item on the agenda at a special meeting held at 9 a.m.
The city's governing body went to the extraordinary lengths of holding a special morning meeting in hopes of helping a developer Stirlingside Urban Renwewal LLC meet a federal deadline.
Council President John Anderson, Vice President Suzanne Sicora-Ludwig and Councilman Kevin Egan unanimously approved the ordinance.
Stirlingside plans to build a 53-unit apartment building consisting of entirely of affordable housing. The developer received several variances from the Zoning Board at its Aug. 26 meeting. The building's entrance will be at 50 Neilson St., but it will also be surrounded by Oliver, Abeel and Hassart streets.
However, as the Council was set to vote on Ordinance 0-081909 at the Sept. 5 meeting, it was discovered that the application concerning the five-story apartment building was incorrectly listed as an urban renewal project.
When the inaccuracy came to light, the body initially considered amending the ordinance and putting it back on the agenda for the next regular meeting. According to cityofnewbrunswick.org, the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 18.
Jong Sook Nee, the attorney for Stirlingside, told the council that her client was facing a Sept. 12 deadline to apply for federal tax incentives with regard to the project. One key in securing the incentives, which are administered through the state's Housing Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), is obtaining a tax exemption from the local municipality.
Nee said the project has been four years in the making and that if the developer were to miss the Sept. 12 deadline, it might have to wait until 2021 to revisit the project.
She asked the council if it was possible to hold a special meeting to receive the tax exemption in time for her client to make an application to the HMFA.
Council attorney T.K. Shamy reviewed the city's guidelines with regards to proper legal notices and informed the council the earliest it could vote on the ordinance was today.
A 9 a.m. start time was decided upon to give the developer as much time possible to complete its application for federal tax exemptions.
After this morning's meeting, Shamy said the ordinance would be immediately taken to Mayor Jim Cahill's office for him to sign. Notice of the ordinance would be published as soon as possible, Shamy said.
Stirlingside's project consists of nine one-bedroom units, 30 two-bedroom units and 14 three-bedroom units. The building will also have amenities such as a fitness room, a community room, a computer lab, laundry rooms and an outdoor terrace.
One resident at Thursday morning's meeting voiced his concern that there would be several school children living in the apartment building and that the apartment building wouldn't be generating tax revenue to pay for their educations.
Using national data, Nee said estimates are that there will be 29 to 31 schoolchildren living in the apartment building.