On June 29, 2011, Governor Christie issued Reorganization Plan No. 001-2011, that would, if not rejected within 60 days by the Legislature, abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”) and transfer all responsibilities to the Department of Community Affairs (“Department”). The purpose of the plan “is to reduce the unnecessary complexity of affordable housing administration in New Jersey, lower the administrative costs associated with the present regulatory process, and streamline the development of new housing projects.” The plan transfers all functions, powers and duties to the Commissioner of the Department. » Read the rest of this entry «
Today, the Appellate Division issued a decision invalidating the Council of Affordable Housing’s growth share methodology, commonly referred to as the third round rules. The Court provided the following conclusion:
In summary, we invalidate the parts of the revised third round rules that use a growth share methodology for determining the prospective need for affordable housing. We also conclude 71 A-5382-07T3 that the adoption of valid third round rules should not be further delayed by allowing COAH to adopt another methodology for determining prospective need that relies upon a growth share approach. Accordingly, we remand to COAH to adopt new third round rules that use a methodology for determining prospective need similar to the methodologies used in the first and second rounds. This determination should be made on the basis of the most up-to-date available data. The remand shall be completed within five months.
We also invalidate N.J.A.C. 5:97-3.2(a)(4)(iv), which authorizes a municipality to obtain substantive certification of a compliance plan that proposes to construct municipally-funded affordable housing without any specifics regarding the location of the site or source of funding; those parts of the third round rules that fail to provide sufficient incentives for the construction of inclusionary developments; N.J.A.C. 5:97-3.5, which governs rental bonuses for prior round obligations; and N.J.A.C. 5:97-3.18, which authorizes compliance bonuses for affordable housing units approved during the period from December 20, 2004 to June 2, 2008. Consequently, COAH must either eliminate or modify those parts of the third round rules in conformity with this opinion.
As of July 1, 2010, the 2.5% fee on non-residential development is once again in effect. This 2.5 % fee was originally applied in 2008 with the enactment of the Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee Act (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-8.1-8.7) and was later suspended as part of the New Jersey Stimulus Act of 2009. With the introduction of Senate Bill S-1, it was anticipated that the 2.5% commercial fee would be eliminated or removed from the affordable housing formula. S-1 passed the Senate in June, 2010 but has been held up by the House for further discussion. As we work through the affordable housing mess, developers and municipalities should be cognizant that the 2.5% non-residential development fee is currently in effect. This could and should change soon but as of July 1, 2010, the fee is no longer suspended. Stay tuned as these issues will be further reviewed and discussed this fall.
If adopted, a bill before the New Jersey Senate (S-1) will abolish COAH and reform the Fair Housing Act. The bill stands at second reading and can be voted upon at the next voting session in May 2010. If it is not amended, the bill will change the entire landscape of how affordable housing requirements are calculated and applied. With regard to nonresidential development, it will essentially eliminate affordable housing requirements. Here is the story: » Read the rest of this entry «
With a new Governor taking the reigns, many people are wondering in what direction New Jersey will be heading. The Transition Subcommittee’s reports, including findings and recommendations, provide valuable insight. Click on the links below to see the recently released reports:
Effort to Stimulate Economy Through New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 Impacts Development Community
Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 on July 27. The Act is intended to spur economic growth in the state “through the use of tax increment financing, tax credits, development fee suspensions, and dedicated economic development revenues, along with a more efficient redevelopment process.” Some provisions in the Act are significant for the development community:
With some modifications Senate Bill S-2577 (A-3772), allowing the conversion of age-restricted housing developments, has finally been signed by Gov. Jon S. Corzine and takes effect immediately. As reported earlier, the new legislation permits the conversion of age-restricted housing units to non-age-restricted housing units and modifies laws concerning affordable housing. In May, Gov. Corzine returned the legislation back to the Senate with recommendations. The new law has evolved to better protect municipalities, making it clear that the reviewing municipal board should approve the conversion where there is no substantial detriment to the public good or impairment of the the intent and purpose of the zone plan and zoning ordinance. The appeal language has also been modified, allowing an appeal directly to court. Unlike a typical prerogative writ action, however, the appeal must be filed within 30 days of the applicant’s receipt of the resolution of denial. For further details and a copy of the Advanced Law click here.
Governor Issues Conditional Veto of Bill Allowing Conversion of Age Restricted Housing Developments.
On May 4, 2009, Governor Corzine returned Senate Bill No 2577 back to the Senate with recommendations, indicating that he was concerned that the “bill does not go far enough in ensuring the provision of housing for those whose needs the private market has not addressed, and further recommend providing local governmental units with additional approval authority in matters of planning for residential developments.” The bill, as discussed in a prior post, would permit the conversion of age-restricted housing developments to non-age restricted housing developments under certain circumstances. In application, it would make modifications to the municipalities affordable housing requirements. » Read the rest of this entry «
Adopted Bill Allows for Change of Age-Restricted Housing Units to Non-Restricted Housing Units Under Certain Circumstances
On March 16, 2009, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate adopted bill A3772/S2577. If signed by the Governor, the act would allow for the conversion of age-restricted housing units, pending approval by the local planning or zoning board (who seem to have very little discretion to deny the conversion). The Bill has met with substantial resistance from local governments and it remains to be seen if it will be signed into law by the Governor.
To be eligible for conversion, the developer must agree to set aside a percentage of the units in the development (not to exceed 20 %) for the provision of affordable housing. These units would count towards fulfilling the municipality’s affordable housing obligation. To be eligible for conversion, the developer must have received preliminary or final approval prior to the bill’s effective date and the developer can not have any deposits from buyers. » Read the rest of this entry «