What is the impact of the July 11, 2016 Appellate Court decision on the Borough’s housing obligation? The Borough was one of a number of municipalities that formed a consortium which appealed the decision of a trial judge that upheld the position of Fair Share Housing Center (“FSHC”) requiring towns to satisfy an affordable housing obligation state-wide of 145,000 units for the 1999-2015 period, commonly referred to as the “gap period”. The decision of the Appellate Division would eliminate these units from the housing obligations of towns throughout the State. Congratulations to the Borough’s Special Counsel Ed Buzak, the lead counsel for the League of Municipalities, who successfully litigated this matter on our behalf.

As is noted in Question 6 of Questions and Answers Regarding One Lake Street, two sets of affordable housing obligations have been promulgated for every town by two different experts, and these numbers were recently revised in mid-May. Econsult, which represents the municipal consortium, has determined the Borough’s obligation to the year 2025 to be 347 units. Econsult’s position is that the Borough, like every town in Bergen, has a zero unit obligation for the gap period.
FSHC contends that the Borough has an obligation of 529 units for the same period. For Housing Region 1 (Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Sussex), the percentage of units FSHC’s expert has allocated to the gap period is 30%. If USR’s number is adjusted proportionately, FSHC’s revised number for the Borough would be reduced to 370 units. It must be emphasized that in the past, FSHC’s expert has not adjusted its housing estimates on an even or proportionate basis. Furthermore,

FSHC has not ruled out an appeal of the Appellate Division decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Ultimately, the Borough’s affordable housing obligation will be determined by a Superior Court judge.

What else can be done? At the July 7th Mayor and Council meeting, the Governing Body passed a resolution supporting legislation which would eliminate, for all towns, a housing obligation for the gap period. Bills have been introduced in both the State Senate (Bill No. S2254) and General Assembly (Bill No. A3821) which would by law provide that towns have no housing obligation for the gap period. Although the three Judge panel of the Appellate Division ruled that Judges have power to approve or reject development plans, the court held that the underlying affordable housing formula is not for the courts, but rather for the Legislature and Governor. Legislation to eliminate any possibility of additional housing obligations for the gap period is critical to ensure against exorbitant and unrealistic development.

Residents are urged to write, call or email the following representatives and request that they support this legislation:

Hon. Chris Christie
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton,NJ 08625
Email http://nj.gov/governor/contact/

Hon. Steve Sweeney, President, NJ Senate
935 Kings Highway
Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Email http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/RepEmail.asp

Hon. Vincent Prieto, Speaker, NJ General Assembly
1 Harmon Plaza
Suite 205
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Email http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/RepEmail.asp

Hon. Gerald Cardinale, NJ Senate
350 Madison Ave.
Cresskill, NJ 07626
Email http://cardinale.senatenj.com/contact.php

Hon. Holly Schepisi, NJ General Assembly
287 Kinderkamack Rd.
Westwood, NJ 07675
Email www.hollyschepisi.com/index.php/contact-holly

Hon. Robert Auth, NJ General Assembly
1069 Ringwood Ave.
Suite 312
Haskell, NJ 07420
862-248-0491 or 201-567-2324
Email http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/RepEmail.asp