10/30/2020 - City of Hackensack to Boost Development of New Affordable Housing With Inclusionary Zoning Overlays, Build 60 New Affordable Units Directly

The City of Hackensack is poised to see hundreds of new affordable housing units be built in the coming years thanks to a landmark settlement agreement it has reached with the non-profit Fair Share Housing Center. The plan will create 108 acres of inclusionary zoning overlay zones which will require new developments to set aside 10% of residential units as affordable housing. It will also include the city working directly to build 60 new affordable family rental units. Hackensack’s affordable housing plan comes at a time of rapid redevelopment of its downtown area and it cements the Mayor and Council’s determination to make sure all residents will continue to be able to call the city home as it progresses into a true destination community. 


“Our downtown revitalization plan is creating a brighter future for our city with millions of dollars in new tax revenue and a reinvigorated Main Street, and we want to ensure that all residents are able to stay here in our community with this affordable housing plan,” said Mayor John Labrosse. “The City Council worked with the state’s leading affordable housing advocacy group to craft this plan, and it’s designed to provide long term solutions for residents who deserve to be able to stay here in our city while it progresses into the crown jewel of Bergen County that we know it can be.”


The three new overlay zones are located along Hudson Street, Main Street/Johnson Avenue and Essex Street/Railroad Avenue. As part of the plan, the city is working to amend its zoning to allow for greater residential density in these overlay zones, which will allow private developers to secure financing to invest in the city while providing for affordable housing. Developers will not have the option to pay fees or take other actions in lieu of meeting the affordable housing set aside requirement. City officials are currently reviewing proposals from government agencies, nonprofits and private developers interested in partnering on the development of the 60 affordable units it will be handling directly. 


We’re excited to see this plan move forward and view it as a major step forward in Hackensack’s rebirth,” said Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino, who played an instrumental role in crafting the agreement. “Our redevelopment plan is the key to unlocking economic growth and prosperity in our community, but we want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to share in that. We’re already in the process of a five year property tax levy reduction plan that is benefitting both homeowners and renters, and this affordable housing plan will continue to help members of our community.” 


Hackensack is currently in the midst of a massive redevelopment of its downtown and other areas near Main Street, with an estimated $1 billion in new real estate value either built or under construction. Mayor Labrosse and the City Council have aggressively used zoning controls and tax incentives to attract new developments to Hackensack, with mixed use buildings and adaptive reuse projects springing up throughout the area. City officials are hoping to lure commuters and empty nesters to the new developments, many of which boast luxury amenities, walkable access to public transportation and competitive rents. Doing so will cause a ripple effect of helping existing local businesses and attracting new restaurants, stores and other commercial developments while limiting the impact on local services and schools. 


“We want longtime Hackensack residents to feel confident that they will always have a place here in our city, especially our seniors and our working families,” said Deputy Mayor David Sims. “This affordable housing plan is the key to making sure we are using redevelopment to help all of our residents, and I’m proud that the City Council was able to reach this important agreement.” 


The housing settlement agreement and maps of the Overlay Zones are attached.