June 1, 2010 | 17 Comments
Posted by Marc Policastro
New Jersey’s Fair Housing Act is outdated, unpredictable and ineffective. Not a great combination. In the eyes of most, it has simply failed to achieve its stated purpose. On May 13, 2010, Governor Christie announced a basic road map to revamping the entire affordable housing system in New Jersey. The Governor’s plan would abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and attempt to shift more planning control to the local level, and away from the State. Under the new proposal, developments having more than 10 units would be required to set-aside 10 percent of the units as “affordable units”. Developers pursuing projects having between 2 and 10 units would be subject to a required payment into an affordable housing trust. The new framework would repeal the current 2.5% commercial development fee and would also give “special needs” housing priority. Redevelopment of existing housing supplies is to be encouraged and local assessments, as opposed to State-driven housing analyses, should prevail. The real question is simple: Will the new plan contain enough incentives for developers and municipalities to collaborate in a meaningful way and avoid the delay, uncertainty, litigation and inefficiencies which are synonymous with the old COAH system? Governor Christie has painted a broad brushed picture. As always, the proof is in the fine print.