Morris Canal group again files suit to stop 17-story project on Communipaw Ave. in Jersey City


The Morris Canal Redevelopment Area Community Development Corporation has again filed a lawsuit to stop a 17-story, 420-unit project at 417 Communipaw Ave. in Jersey City.

A rendering of the Morris Canal Manor. Screenshot via Zoom.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Back in August, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Anthony D’Elia voided project amendments and sent the development back to the planning board, which they approved in December.

After the city council initially tabled the second reading of the amended plan in February, they approved it the following month.

“The Planning Board did no diligence to determine whether and how extensively any person might have been linked with the MCRACDC before prohibiting such person from commenting,” the 23-page lawsuit, filed in Hudson County Superior Court on April 22nd, says.

“Put differently, the Planning Board barred anyone it merely suspected as being so affiliated from speaking.”

The lawsuit also contends that Supervising Planner Matthew Ward failed to explain how the amendments were consistent with the city’s Master Plan, noting that the density and height would be out of scope of other buildings in the neighborhood.

Additionally, the MCRACDC, along with Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore, continued to push developer Lou Mont to include more affordable housing beyond the five percent assigned to the project, particularly in lieu of the city’s new inclusionary zoning ordinance approved my the council in December.

” … The Ordinance allows the development at the heart of the Amendments to set aside only five percent of its units for work-force housing, despite the IZO’s ten-percent affordable-housing mandate, which has a lower average medium income target,” the court filing also says.

The four-count suit seeks to repeal the ordinance and reinstitute the property’s industrial zoning, prohibit the defendants from amending the plan, and awarding plaintiffs the costs of legal fees, along with any relief the court deems just and equitable.

The lawsuit, which names the city, the planning board, and the city’s division of planning as defendants, is being written off as “nonsensical” by city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione since a judge has already outlined the specific issues with this development.

“The entire basis of the lawsuit is nonsensical … The fact is, the judge specifically and very clearly declined to strike down the plan, but rather, he only asked for a record of how it was consistent with the Master Plan, which was provided,” she said.

“The additional details from the Planning Board were also provided to the City Council to ensure the council and community have full knowledge of the judge’s instructions and to ensure full transparency throughout the entire process.”

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353