PRINCETON: Judge rules for town in AvalonBay dispute over affordable housing restrictions

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
A Mercer County judge on Monday threw out a lawsuit that AvalonBay had brought against the town of Princeton, challenging how long some of the residential units the developer is building on Witherspoon Street must be set aside as below market rate.
The town had argued that the deed restriction on the 56 affordable housing units is for a minimum of 30 years and that municipal officials can keep the restriction in place indefinitely. AvalonBay countered that developer’s agreement between the two sides caps the restriction at 30 years, and allowing the restriction to continue indefinitely would hurt the company’s bottom line. Judge Mary C. Jacobson, sitting in Trenton, ruled in favor of the town, which believed state regulations were on the side of municipal officials.
AvaonBay senior vice president Ronald S. Ladell said his side was considering whether to appeal.
The company had claimed it was forced to sign the deed restriction under duress or risk not getting its necessary permits to build the 280-unit project at the former University Medical Center site. The project is under construction. 