ASSEMBLY, No. 3482

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 8, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman DAWN MARIE ADDIEGO

District 8 (Burlington)

Assemblyman SCOTT RUDDER

District 8 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Defines and removes limits on municipal market to affordable programs.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning affordable housing and amending and supplementing P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.)

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 2 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-302) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    The Legislature finds that:

     a.     The New Jersey Supreme Court, through its rulings in South Burlington County NAACP v. Mount Laurel, 67 N.J. 151 (1975) and South Burlington County NAACP v. Mount Laurel, 92 N.J. 158 (1983), has determined that every municipality in a growth area has a constitutional obligation to provide through its land use regulations a realistic opportunity for a fair share of its region's present and prospective needs for housing for low and moderate income families.

     b.    In the second Mount Laurel ruling, the Supreme Court stated that the determination of the methods for satisfying this constitutional obligation "is better left to the Legislature," that the court has "always preferred legislative to judicial action in their field," and that the judicial role in upholding the Mount Laurel doctrine "could decrease as a result of legislative and executive action."

     c.     The interest of all citizens, including low and moderate income families in need of affordable housing, and the needs of the workforce, would be best served by a comprehensive planning and implementation response to this constitutional obligation.

     d.    There are a number of essential ingredients to a comprehensive planning and implementation response, including the establishment of reasonable fair share housing guidelines and standards, the initial determination of fair share by officials at the municipal level and the preparation of a municipal housing element, State review of the local fair share study and housing element, and continuous State funding for low and moderate income housing to replace the federal housing subsidy programs which have been almost completely eliminated.

     e.     The State can maximize the number of low and moderate income units provided in New Jersey by allowing its municipalities to adopt appropriate phasing schedules for meeting their fair share, so long as the municipalities permit a timely achievement of an appropriate fair share of the regional need for low and moderate income housing as required by the Mt. Laurel I and II opinions and other relevant court decisions.

     f.     The State can also maximize the number of low and moderate income units by creating new affordable housing and by rehabilitating existing, but substandard, housing in the State. Because the Legislature has determined, pursuant to P.L.2008, c.46 (C.52:27D-329.1 et al.), that it is no longer appropriate or in harmony with the Mount Laurel doctrine to permit the transfer of the fair share obligations among municipalities within a housing region, it is necessary and appropriate to create a new program to create new affordable housing and to foster the rehabilitation of existing, but substandard, housing.

     g.     Since the urban areas are vitally important to the State, construction, conversion and rehabilitation of housing in our urban centers should be encouraged.  However, the provision of housing in urban areas must be balanced with the need to provide housing throughout the State for the free mobility of citizens.

     h.     The Supreme Court of New Jersey in its Mount Laurel decisions demands that municipal land use regulations affirmatively afford a reasonable opportunity for a variety and choice of housing including low and moderate cost housing, to meet the needs of people desiring to live there.  While provision for the actual construction of that housing by municipalities is not required, they are encouraged but not mandated to expend their own resources to help provide low and moderate income housing.

     i.      Certain amendments to the enabling act of the Council on Affordable Housing are necessary to provide guidance to the council to ensure consistency with the legislative intent, while at the same time clarifying the limitations of the council in its rulemaking. Although the court has remarked in several decisions that the Legislature has granted the council considerable deference in its rulemaking, the Legislature retains its power and obligation to clarify and amend the enabling act from which the council derives its rulemaking power, from time to time, in order to better guide the council.

     j.     The Legislature finds that the use of regional contribution agreements, which permits municipalities to transfer a certain portion of their fair share housing obligation outside of the municipal borders, should no longer be utilized as a mechanism for the creation of affordable housing by the council.

     k.    The Legislature finds and declares that New Jersey may, at times, be significantly affected by national economic downturns that lead to an increase in home mortgage foreclosures in this State. Increased foreclosures have lead to a supply of units for sale that are vacant or likely to soon become vacant.

(cf: P.L.2008, c.46, s.4)

 

     2.    Section 4 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-304) is amended to read as follows:

     4.    As used in this act:

     a.     "Council" means the Council on Affordable Housing established in this act, which shall have primary jurisdiction for the administration of housing obligations in accordance with sound regional planning considerations in this State.

     b.    "Housing region" means a geographic area of not less than two nor more than four contiguous, whole counties which exhibit significant social, economic and income similarities, and which constitute to the greatest extent practicable the primary metropolitan statistical areas as last defined by the United States Census Bureau prior to the effective date of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.).

     c.     "Low income housing" means housing affordable according to federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or other recognized standards for home ownership and rental costs and occupied or reserved for occupancy by households with a gross household income equal to 50% or less of the median gross household income for households of the same size within the housing region in which the housing is located.

     d.    "Moderate income housing" means housing affordable according to federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or other recognized standards for home ownership and rental costs and occupied or reserved for occupancy by households with a gross household income equal to more than 50% but less than 80% of the median gross household income for households of the same size within the housing region in which the housing is located.

     e.     "Resolution of participation" means a resolution adopted by a municipality in which the municipality chooses to prepare a fair share plan and housing element in accordance with this act.

     f.     "Inclusionary development" means a residential housing development in which a substantial percentage of the housing units are provided for a reasonable income range of low and moderate income households.

     g.     "Conversion" means the conversion of existing commercial, industrial, or residential structures for low and moderate income housing purposes where a substantial percentage of the housing units are provided for a reasonable income range of low and moderate income households.

     h.     "Development" means any development for which permission may be required pursuant to the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).

     i.      "Agency" means the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency established by P.L.1983, c.530 (C.55:14K-1 et seq.).

     j.     "Prospective need" means a projection of housing needs based on development and growth which is reasonably likely to occur in a region or a municipality, as the case may be, as a result of actual determination of public and private entities.  In determining prospective need, consideration shall be given to approvals of development applications, real property transfers and economic projections prepared by the State Planning Commission established by sections 1 through 12 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et seq.).

     k.    "Disabled person" means a person with a physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement which is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, aging or illness including epilepsy and other seizure disorders, and which shall include, but not be limited to, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment or physical reliance on a service or guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or device.

     l.      "Adaptable" means constructed in compliance with the technical design standards of the barrier free subcode adopted by the Commissioner of Community Affairs pursuant to the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.) and in accordance with the provisions of section 5 of P.L.2005, c.350 (C.52:27D-123.15).

     m.    "Very low income housing" means housing affordable according to federal Department of Housing and Urban Development or other recognized standards for home ownership and rental costs and occupied or reserved for occupancy by households with a gross household income equal to 30% or less of the median gross household income for households of the same size within the housing region in which the housing is located.

     n.     "Market to affordable program" means a program to pay down the cost of market-rate units, including units in foreclosure, and offer them in sound condition, for sale or rent, at affordable prices to low- and moderate-income households to address all or a portion of the fair share obligation.

(cf: P.L.2008, c.46, s.5)

 

     3.    Section 20 of P.L.1985. c.222 (C.52:27D-320) is amended to read as follows:

     20.  There is established in the Department of Community Affairs a separate trust fund, to be used for the exclusive purposes as provided in this section, and which shall be known as the "New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund."  The fund shall be a non-lapsing, revolving trust fund, and all monies deposited or received for purposes of the fund shall be accounted for separately, by source and amount, and remain in the fund until appropriated for such purposes.  The fund shall be the repository of all State funds appropriated for affordable housing purposes, including the proceeds from the receipts of the additional fee collected pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.1968, c.49 (C.46:15-7), proceeds from available receipts of the Statewide non-residential development fees collected pursuant to section 35 of P.L.2008, c.46 (C.40:55D-8.4), monies lapsing or reverting from municipal development trust funds, or other monies as may be dedicated, earmarked, or appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes of the fund.  All references in any law, order, rule, regulation, contract, loan, document, or otherwise, to the "Neighborhood Preservation Nonlapsing Revolving Fund" shall mean the "New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund."  The department shall be permitted to utilize annually up to 7.5 percent of the monies available in the fund for the payment of any necessary administrative costs related to the administration of the "Fair Housing Act," P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.), the State Housing Commission, or any costs related to administration of P.L.2008, c.46 (C.52:27D-329.1 et al.).

     a.     Except as permitted pursuant to subsection g. of this section, the commissioner shall award grants or loans from this fund for housing projects and programs in municipalities whose housing elements have received substantive certification from the council, in municipalities receiving State aid pursuant to P.L.1978, c.14 (C.52:27D-178 et seq.), in municipalities subject to builder's remedy as defined in section 28 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-328) or in receiving municipalities in cases where the council has approved a regional contribution agreement and a project plan developed by the receiving municipality.

     Of those monies deposited into the "New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund" that are derived from municipal development fee trust funds, or from available collections of Statewide non-residential development fees, a priority for funding shall be established for projects in municipalities that have petitioned the council for substantive certification.

     Programs and projects in any municipality shall be funded only after receipt by the commissioner of a written statement in support of the program or project from the municipal governing body.

     b.    The commissioner shall establish rules and regulations governing the qualifications of applicants, the application procedures, and the criteria for awarding grants and loans and the standards for establishing the amount, terms and conditions of each grant or loan.

     c.     For any period which the council may approve, the commissioner may assist affordable housing programs which are not located in municipalities whose housing elements have been granted substantive certification or which are not in furtherance of a regional contribution agreement; provided that the affordable housing program will meet all or part of a municipal low and moderate income housing obligation.

     d.    Amounts deposited in the "New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund" shall be targeted to regions based on the region's percentage of the State's low and moderate income housing need as determined by the council.  Amounts in the fund shall be applied for the following purposes in designated neighborhoods:

     (1)   Rehabilitation of substandard housing units occupied or to be occupied by low and moderate income households;

     (2)   Creation of accessory apartments to be occupied by low and moderate income households;

     (3)   Conversion of non-residential space to residential purposes; provided a substantial percentage of the resulting housing units are to be occupied by low and moderate income households;

     (4) Acquisition of real property, including purchases that are part of a market to affordable program as described in section 4 of P.L.    , c.   , (C.    ) (pending before the legislature as this bill), demolition and removal of buildings, or construction of new housing that will be occupied by low and moderate income households, or any combination thereof;

     (5)   Grants of assistance to eligible municipalities for costs of necessary studies, surveys, plans and permits; engineering, architectural and other technical services; costs of land acquisition and any buildings thereon; and costs of site preparation, demolition and infrastructure development for projects undertaken pursuant to an approved regional contribution agreement;

     (6)   Assistance to a local housing authority, nonprofit or limited dividend housing corporation or association or a qualified entity acting as a receiver under P.L.2003, c.295 (C.2A:42-114 et al.) for rehabilitation or restoration of housing units which it administers which: (a) are unusable or in a serious state of disrepair; (b) can be restored in an economically feasible and sound manner; and (c) can be retained in a safe, decent and sanitary manner, upon completion of rehabilitation or restoration; and

     (7)   Other housing programs for low and moderate income housing, including, without limitation, (a) infrastructure projects directly facilitating the construction of low and moderate income housing not to exceed a reasonable percentage of the construction costs of the low and moderate income housing to be provided and (b) alteration of dwelling units occupied or to be occupied by households of low or moderate income and the common areas of the premises in which they are located in order to make them accessible to handicapped persons.

     e.     Any grant or loan agreement entered into pursuant to this section shall incorporate contractual guarantees and procedures by which the division will ensure that any unit of housing provided for low and moderate income households shall continue to be occupied by low and moderate income households for at least 20 years following the award of the loan or grant, except that the division may approve a guarantee for a period of less than 20 years where necessary to ensure project feasibility.

     f.     Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, rule or regulation to the contrary, in making grants or loans under this section, the department shall not require that tenants be certified as low or moderate income or that contractual guarantees or deed restrictions be in place to ensure continued low and moderate income occupancy as a condition of providing housing assistance from any program administered by the department, when that assistance is provided for a project of moderate rehabilitation if the project (1) contains 30 or fewer rental units and (2) is located in a census tract in which the median household income is 60 percent or less of the median income for the housing region in which the census tract is located, as determined for a three person household by the council in accordance with the latest federal decennial census. A list of eligible census tracts shall be maintained by the department and shall be adjusted upon publication of median income figures by census tract after each federal decennial census.

     g.     In addition to other grants or loans awarded pursuant to this section, and without regard to any limitations on such grants or loans for any other purposes herein imposed, the commissioner shall annually allocate such amounts as may be necessary in the commissioner's discretion, and in accordance with section 3 of P.L.2004, c.140 (C.52:27D-287.3), to fund rental assistance grants under the program created pursuant to P.L.2004, c.140 (C.52:27D-287.1 et al.).  Such rental assistance grants shall be deemed necessary and authorized pursuant to P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.), in order to meet the housing needs of certain low income households who may not be eligible to occupy other housing produced pursuant to P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.).

     h.     The department and the State Treasurer shall submit the "New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund" for an audit annually by the State Auditor or State Comptroller, at the discretion of the Treasurer.  In addition, the department shall prepare an annual report for each fiscal year, and submit it by November 30th of each year to the Governor and the Legislature, and the Joint Committee on Housing Affordability, or its successor, and post the information to its web site, of all activity of the fund, including details of the grants and loans by number of units, number and income ranges of recipients of grants or loans, location of the housing renovated or constructed using monies from the fund, the number of units upon which affordability controls were placed, and the length of those controls.  The report also shall include details pertaining to those monies allocated from the fund for use by the State rental assistance program pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2004, c.140 (C.52:27D-287.3) and subsection g. of this section.

(cf: P.L.2008, c.46, s.17)

 

     4.    (New section) a.  A market to affordable program shall include units purchased or subsidized through a written agreement with the property owner and sold or rented to low- and moderate-income households. Subject to the provisions of subsection b. of this section, market to affordable programs may be designed to produce only low-income units, only moderate-income units, or both low- and moderate-income units.

     b.    A  municipality may address any portion, including the entirety, of its fair share obligation with units acquired as part of a market to affordable program. The council shall credit each unit acquired, paid down, and offered as affordable against the fair share obligation of a municipality.

     c.     The following provisions shall apply to market to affordable programs:

     (1)   At the time they are offered for sale or rental, eligible units may be new, pre-owned or vacant.

     (2)   The units shall be certified to be in sound condition as a result of an inspection performed by a licensed building inspector.

     (3)   A municipality may address its fair share obligation using for-sale or rental units acquired as part of a market to affordable program.

 

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill amends the "Fair Housing Act," P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.) to require the Council on Affordable Housing to permit a municipality to acquire take advantage of property foreclosures in the municipality to provide affordable units. The legislation requires the council to credit all foreclosed, and other units acquired by the municipality against the municipality's fair share obligation.  In addition, because foreclosed properties are ordinarily already constructed, market to affordable programs may deliver affordable units faster than new construction.

     This bill would also contribute to neighborhood preservation and redevelopment, because foreclosed units may be at risk of standing vacant unless a new purchaser, including a municipality, is found.