Council Appoints Redevelopment Counsel For Romerovski

Council unanimously approved the appointing of its contracted redevelopment attorney firm to work on potential development at what is locally known as the Romerovski property. The governing body approved $9,300 to have Savo, Schalk, Gillespie, O’Grodnick & Fisher, P.A. The firm was appointed earlier this year in January at a rate of $155/hour for attorneys and $45/hour for paralegals.

In May of this year, Fernmoor Homes out of Jackson, New Jersey, informally introduced itself to the governing body. The developer presented a proposed concept plan to the governing body and the public for a 218-apartment complex with 33 of them being affordable housing units. Fernmoor Homes would become the new partner of Roselle Park VP LLC with Israel Braunstein, the owner of the property at 430 West Westfield Avenue by the train overpass. Fernmoor would take over for AvalonBay Communities who, according to Ricahrd Kaplan, a representative for Roselle Park VP LLC, “…became reluctant to proceed with the project and for the last several years…”

In 2007, Roselle Park VP, LLC filed litigation papers after the municipality adopted a “Romerovski Redevelopment Plan” that required retail space for the ground floor of one of the two-parcel lots – AvalonBay Communities only develops residential projects. The borough had not addressed its COAH (Council On Affordable Housing) for decades and AvalonBay sued under the premise that it could address COAH by providing 38 Affordable Housing units out of its proposed 249 luxury apartments and the municipality had no right to deny development since it had no legal standing due to a lack of Affordable Housing, which is required by New Jersey Law. In 2009, the municipality reached a settlement with Roselle Park VP LLC that put a stop to a potential Builder’s Remedy lawsuit filed.  Under terms of the settlement, the municipality would allow the project and address affordable housing through rehabilitation credits and senior housing. The developer had ten years to begin development.

Fernmoor plans to keep the affordable housing component of 15% set-asides while reducing the number of units by 10%.

Savo, Schalk, Gillespie, O’Grodnick & Fisher will work with the municipality to review any proposal for developing the Romerovski property.