(Photo by Jason Towlen/MyCentralJersey.com)
The semi-private club in Hillsborough, N.J. has arranged to sell a portion of its 435-acre property to Toll Brothers for a 393-unit development, with 94 units reserved for low- and moderate-income units that would help the local township satisfy a court-mandated requirement for affordable housing. Royce Brook has an 18-hole public course as well as one reserved for members; the club says the sale would also generate capital that would help “ensure its long-term operation” as an 18-hole facility.
Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, N.J. wants to play a part in its local township’s pending affordable-housing settlement by proposing a 393-unit development on its property, MyCentralJersey.com reported.
Royce Brook GC is a semi-private operation with a public 18-hole East Course and a private 18-hole West Course.
In court documents filed in July, MyCentralJersey.com reported, Royce Brook said it is under contract to sell a portion of its 435-acre property to national developers Toll Brothers, which would then build the project that would include 94 units reserved for low- and moderate-income units. The remaining 299 units would be market-rate.
Royce Brook said the property is “uniquely situated” to fulfill Hillsborough Township’s affordable-housing obligation, which could be close to 1,400 units, MyCentralJersey.com reported. The site “is the largest available developable parcel” in Hillsborough, the club noted.
“The Royce Brook Property is a necessary piece to the puzzle leading to completion” of a housing plan, the club said in the filed documents, and will help the township “cross the finish line,” MyCentralJersey.com reported.
Hillsborough Township is finalizing its court-mandated housing program and is scheduled to have a “fairness hearing” on August 28 before Superior Court Judge Thomas Miller, who is hearing all affordable-housing cases in Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties, MyCentralJersey.com reported.
The township has requested that Royce Brook’s request to intervene be carried to August 16, so it can continue to work on its settlement and answer the issues raised by Royce Brook, MyCentralJersey.com reported.
In its brief, Royce Brook said it has been discussion with the township for several years on the possibility of developing the property that is in a sewer service area, MyCentralJersey.com reported. By October 2018, the brief said, Royce Brook had reached an agreement with the township to draft an agreement to allow the development, but that since then the township has “failed to take any further action.”
The brief also said that Royce Brook needs to reduce its golf operations from 36 to 18 holes “to ensure long-term operation,” MyCentralJersey.com reported, and that the sale of a portion of the property to Toll Brothers would provide the “necessary capital” to fund the operation of the golf club.
Hillsborough Township has not yet filed a formal response to Royce Brook’s request, MyCentralJersey.com reported.
Under court rules, developers can “intervene” in a municipality’s affordable housing program by filing a “builder’s remedy” lawsuit, MyCentralJersey.com reported. Taking that action allows developers to sue a municipality to construct higher-density housing than a municipality’s zoning ordinance allows to satisfy its affordable housing obligation
Judge Miller has extended “temporary immunity” for the township from builder’s remedy lawsuits until September 5, MyCentralJersey.com reported. Immunity for most of the 59 municipalities in the three central New Jersey counties expired on June 30, almost four years after the court granted temporary immunity from builder’s remedy lawsuits.