SENATE ECONOMIC GROWTH COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 2577

 

  with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  FEBRUARY 26, 2009

 

      The Senate Economic Growth Committee reports favorably Senate Bill, No. 2577 with committee amendments.

      This bill, as amended, would allow for the change of a proposed age-restricted development to be marketed instead without age restrictions, pending approval by the local planning or zoning board.

      To be eligible for conversion, a developer must agree to set aside a percentage of the units in the development, not to exceed 20 percent, for the provision of affordable housing.  These units would automatically count towards fulfilling a municipality’s affordable housing obligation under the State’s “Fair Housing Act.”  Neither those affordable units nor market rate units within such a development would generate an additional growth share obligation under the bill. 

      The amended bill also provides that to be eligible for conversion, preliminary or final approval for the construction of the development must have been granted prior to the bill’s effective date.  Additionally, the developer must not be holding any deposits or conveyed any dwelling units in the community.

      Under the amended bill, a developer seeking to convert an age-restricted community must file an application with the local planning board or zoning board of adjustment that granted initial approval of the age-restricted development as to which the change is to be sought. 

      Prior to issuing an amended approval for such a converted development, the local board must receive documentation from a developer demonstrating that the following site improvement and infrastructure requirements have been met:

·        the site meets parking standards established in the Residential Site Improvement Standards;

·        the recreation improvements and other amenities have been revised, as needed;

·        the water supply and sanitary sewer systems are adequate for the needs of the converted development;

·        if additional water supply or sewer capacity is needed and the developer is unable to obtain it, the number of dwelling units has been reduced;

·        if additional parking is needed, and the developer is unable to provide it, the number of dwelling units has been reduced; and

·        if additional parking is provided and increases the amount of impervious cover by more than one percent, the storm water system calculations and improvements have been revised accordingly.

      The amended bill also provides that a converted development must conform to applicable building codes, and requirements for, and limitations on, size and square footage imposed pursuant to a preliminary approval.  Additionally, it is the intent of this bill that the layout of a subdivision or site plan should not ordinarily be revised other than to accommodate parking, recreational improvements, infrastructure enhancements, a reduction in the number of units, and to accommodate the affordable units as attached housing.  Similarly, the size, height, footprint, number of bedrooms and square footage of buildings must not be increased, but may be decreased.  However, the number of bedrooms for the affordable units must meet Uniform Housing Affordability Controls requirements.

      The bill, as amended, provides recourse to the courts if local approval for a converted development is denied or granted on terms not acceptable to the applicant.  The bill provides that a converted development may give preference in occupancy to certain households that live and work in the municipality where the development is located.

      The committee amendments: 1) eliminate a provision that provided recourse to the Smart Growth Ombudsman in the event that local approval of a converted development is denied; 2) restructure a provision of the bill providing that an application for conversion must be denied in a timely manner; 3) permit a developer to give a preference in occupancy to households that live and work in the municipality where a converted development is located; 4) exempt foreclosed units in a rental or lease-purchase program or other program geared to addressing the needs of low and moderate income residents from requirements for affirmative marketing outside of the municipality; 5) provide that if federal tax law requirements are met for housing units financed in whole or in part through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, then State regulations may not be applied to prevent the crediting of those units against the fair share housing obligation of a municipality under the State’s “Fair Housing Act;” and 6) make various technical amendments to the bill.