West Windsor Council approves affordable housing settlement

The West Windsor Council voted on Wednesday night to approve an agreement that details how the town will meet its obligations for 1,500 affordable housing units.

The agreement comes seven months after the municipality was assigned its obligation in the state’s first county-wide fair housing trial to address municipal numbers through 2025.

With the agreement, West Windsor joins about 250 other towns across New Jersey that have fair housing settlements in place. Princeton is the lone municipality in Mercer County that has not reached a settlement on the issue.

Earlier this year, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson determined the affordable housing unit obligations for West Windsor and Princeton, the only two towns in Mercer County that had failed to reach a settlement with the affordable housing advocacy group Fair Share Housing.

Fair Share Housing Center Executive Director Kevin Walsh said he is happy to see the litigation with West Windsor come to an end.

“Our agreement represents a compromise that includes a major new development for families and people with disabilities, as well as new development near the Princeton Junction train station, increasing access to jobs in cities like New Brunswick, Trenton, Newark and New York City,” Walsh said. “After three years of litigation, we appreciate the work of West Windsor Mayor Hemant Marathe, the council and township professionals to move forward on a compromise plan that will get much-needed homes built in the near future.”

Major provisions of the settlement include:

-The construction of a 72-unit affordable and accessible rental community on Old Bear Brook Road. The groundbreaking will happen next week. The development is being managed by Project Freedom, a local nonprofit serving people with disabilities.

-132 affordable homes that will be part of a larger planned redevelopment of an old office park near the Princeton Junction train station.

-89 affordable units as part of a larger planned redevelopment of land currently owned by Princeton Theological Seminary.

-51 more affordable homes for low-income seniors that will be added to the Bear Creek Senior Living development.

The municipality is also taking credit for projects that have been constructed in recent years that include affordable units.

The settlement will be reviewed by Jacobson in November. The township already has implemented, or is in the process of implementing, numerous provisions of the settlement, officials said. The remaining provisions will be implemented after the court reviews the settlement.

The full agreement is available online.