Sheraton to Mahwah: Keep your redevelopment

Hotel claims town’s designation to “fulfill broader land use and planning goals”

Mahwah mayor Jim Wysocki and 1 International Boulevard and NJ-17 in Mahwah NJ (Google Maps, Facebook/Wysocki4Mayor, Getty)
Mahwah mayor Jim Wysocki and 1 International Boulevard and NJ-17 in Mahwah NJ (Google Maps, Facebook/Wysocki4Mayor, Getty)

The owners of the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel are fighting back against the town, two months after it moved to condemn the property.

The Sheraton’s owners filed a complaint against the New Jersey township earlier this month, NorthJersey.com reported. The complaint is part of an effort to overturn a planning board resolution from June identifying the Sheraton Hotel and Crossroads Corporate Center as “an area in need of condemnation redevelopment.”

The complaint said “stained carpets and unchanged lightbulbs” are not grounds for the resolution.

“The conclusion that the hotel property is in need of redevelopment was not driven by application of the statutory criteria but rather to fulfill broader land use and planning goals of the township which is not permitted under the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law,” the complaint said.

The complaint also highlights the hotel’s recent success, which included maintaining occupancy greater than 50 percent in the past three years, despite the pandemic.

The hotel owners allege the redevelopment designation is part of a bigger move from the town to “fulfill broader land use and planning goals.”

The property was zoned as an office park in a 2013 master plan, then approved for a shopping mall in 2014. As part of an affordable housing settlement in May 2018, the property was then designated as a mixed-use development.

That agreement stipulates the use of 58 acres for inclusionary housing, including 800 rental units with 120 affordable, 30 acres of commercial space and 30 acres of office space. The affordable housing ordinance needs to be readopted due to a separate lawsuit.

Read more

Town of Oyster Bay supervisor Joseph Saladino (Town of Oyster, Google Maps, iStock)
Commercial
Tri-State
After owners reject offer for parking lot, town moves to seize it
Camden County ponders eminent domain for redevelopment
Development
Tri-State
Camden County ponders eminent domain for redevelopment

The hotel owners are looking to stop the township from acquiring its 142-acre property via eminent domain or condemnation guidelines. Typically, governments must prove eminent domain is needed to acquire a property for a public purpose that can’t be achieved through other means; the move is often controversial.

Mayor Jim Wysocki did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

Eminent domain has recently popped up elsewhere in the state. The Hoboken City Council appears to be considering taking the eminent domain route as a way of buying the Hoboken University Medical Center, which faces an uncertain future as operator CarePoint Health plans its exit.

— Holden Walter-Warner