ASSEMBLY, No. 1649

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  HOLLY T. SCHEPISI

District 39 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman N.Munoz, Assemblymen Clifton, Rooney, Assemblywoman B.DeCroce, Assemblymen Space, Bramnick and Harold J. Wirths

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Prohibits affordable housing obligation exemptions for urban aid municipalities.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act prohibiting affordable housing obligation exemptions for urban aid municipalities and amending P.L.1985, c.222.

 

     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, the construction, conversion, and rehabilitation of housing in our urban centers [should be encouraged] shall be an essential part of achieving the fair share of the regional need for low and moderate income housing.  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.    To minimize undue burdens on individual municipalities, reduce urban sprawl, and direct development to areas that already have extensive infrastructure in place and can more cost-effectively accommodate new development, each urban municipality shall be allocated a minimum fair share obligation representing an appropriate portion of the of the regional need for low and moderate income housing.

(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] P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.):

     a.     "Council" means the Council on Affordable Housing established in [this act] P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.), which shall have primary jurisdiction for the administration of housing obligations in accordance with sound regional planning considerations in this State, and any successor body, temporary or otherwise, that obtains such primary jurisdiction.

     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] P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.).

     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.    “Urban municipality” means a municipality that qualifies for State aid pursuant to P.L.1978, c.14 (C.52:27D-178 et seq.).

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

 

     3.    Section 7 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-307) is amended to read as follows:

     7.    It shall be the duty of the council, seven months after the confirmation of the last member initially appointed to the council, or January 1, 1986, whichever is earlier, and from time to time thereafter, to:

     a.     Determine housing regions of the State;

     b.    Estimate the present and prospective need for low and moderate income housing at the State and regional levels;

     c.     Adopt criteria and guidelines for:

     (1)   Municipal determination of its present and prospective fair share of the housing need in a given region which shall be computed for a 10-year period.

     Municipal fair share shall be determined after crediting on a one-to-one basis each current unit of low and moderate income housing of adequate standard, including any such housing constructed or acquired as part of a housing program specifically intended to provide housing for low and moderate income households; provided, however, that the council shall not exempt an urban municipality from any fair share obligation based exclusively on current units of low and moderate income housing.  Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a municipality shall be entitled to a credit for a unit if it demonstrates that (a) the municipality issued a certificate of occupancy for the unit, which was either newly constructed or rehabilitated between April 1, 1980 and December 15, 1986; (b) a construction code official certifies, based upon a visual exterior survey, that the unit is in compliance with pertinent construction code standards with respect to structural elements, roofing, siding, doors and windows; (c) the household occupying the unit certifies in writing, under penalty of perjury, that it receives no greater income than that established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-304) to qualify for moderate income housing; and (d) the unit for which credit is sought is affordable to low and moderate income households under the standards established by the council at the time of filing of the petition for substantive certification.  It shall be sufficient if the certification required in subparagraph (c) is signed by one member of the household.  A certification submitted pursuant to this paragraph shall be reviewable only by the council or its staff and shall not be a public record;

     Nothing in P.L.1995, c.81 shall affect the validity of substantive certification granted by the council prior to November 21, 1994, or of a judgment of compliance entered by any court of competent jurisdiction prior to that date.  Additionally, any municipality that received substantive certification or a judgment of compliance prior to November 21, 1994 and filed a motion prior to November 21, 1994 to amend substantive certification or a judgment of compliance for the purpose of obtaining credits, shall be entitled to a determination of its right to credits pursuant to the standards established by the Legislature prior to P.L.1995, c.81.  Any municipality that filed a motion prior to November 21, 1994 for the purpose of obtaining credits, which motion was supported by the results of a completed survey performed pursuant to council rules, shall be entitled to a determination of its right to credits pursuant to the standards established by the Legislature prior to P.L.1995, c.81;

     (2)   Municipal adjustment of the present and prospective fair share based upon available vacant and developable land, infrastructure considerations or environmental or historic preservation factors and adjustments shall be made whenever:

     (a)   The preservation of historically or important architecture and sites and their environs or environmentally sensitive lands may be jeopardized,

     (b)   The established pattern of development in the community would be drastically altered,

     (c)   Adequate land for recreational, conservation or agricultural and farmland preservation purposes would not be provided,

     (d)   Adequate open space would not be provided,

     (e)   The pattern of development is contrary to the planning designations in the State Development and Redevelopment Plan prepared pursuant to sections 1 through 12 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et seq.),

     (f)   Vacant and developable land is not available in the municipality, and

     (g)   Adequate public facilities and infrastructure capacities are not available, or would result in costs prohibitive to the public if provided.

     (3)   (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1993, c.31).

     d.    Provide population and household projections for the State and housing regions;

     e.     In its discretion, place a limit, based on a percentage of existing housing stock in a municipality and any other criteria including employment opportunities which the council deems appropriate, upon the aggregate number of units which may be allocated to a municipality as its fair share of the region's present and prospective need for low and moderate income housing.  No municipality shall be required to address a fair share of housing units affordable to households with a gross household income of less than 80% of the median gross household income beyond 1,000 units within ten years from the grant of substantive certification, unless it is demonstrated, following objection by an interested party and an evidentiary hearing, based upon the facts and circumstances of the affected municipality that it is likely that the municipality through its zoning powers could create a realistic opportunity for more than 1,000 low and moderate income units within that ten-year period.  For the purposes of this section, the facts and circumstances which shall determine whether a municipality's fair share shall exceed 1,000 units, as provided above, shall be a finding that the municipality has issued more than 5,000 certificates of occupancy for residential units in the ten-year period preceding the petition for substantive certification in connection with which the objection was filed.

     For the purpose of crediting low and moderate income housing units in order to arrive at a determination of present and prospective fair share, as set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection c. of this section, housing units comprised in a community residence for the developmentally disabled, as defined in section 2 of P.L.1977, c.448 (C.30:11B-2), shall be fully credited pursuant to rules promulgated or to be promulgated by the council, to the extent that the units are affordable to persons of low and moderate income and are available to the general public.

     The council, with respect to any municipality seeking substantive certification, shall require that a minimum percentage of housing units in any residential development resulting from a zoning change made to a previously non-residentially-zoned property, where the change in zoning precedes or follows the application for residential development by no more than 24 months, be reserved for occupancy by low or moderate income households, which percentage shall be determined by the council based on economic feasibility with consideration for the proposed density of development.

     In carrying out the above duties, including, but not limited to, present and prospective need estimations the council shall give appropriate weight to pertinent research studies, government reports, decisions of other branches of government, implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan prepared pursuant to sections 1 through 12 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et seq.) and public comment.  To assist the council, the State Planning Commission established under that act shall provide the council annually with economic growth, development and decline projections for each housing region for the next ten years.  The council shall develop procedures for periodically adjusting regional need based upon the low and moderate income housing that is provided in the region through any federal, State, municipal or private housing program.

     No housing unit subject to the provisions of section 5 of P.L.2005, c.350 (C.52:27D-123.15) and to the provisions 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.) shall be eligible for inclusion in the municipal fair share plan certified by the council unless the unit complies with the requirements set forth thereunder.

(cf: P.L.2008, c.46, s.6)

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would revise the "Fair Housing Act," P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.), to prohibit any categorical affordable housing obligation exemption for municipalities that are eligible for the Municipal (Urban) Aid Program.  Prior rules of the Council on Affordable Housing excluded these municipalities from providing any contribution toward a region’s affordable housing need.  Those exemptions, however, can lead to undue development burdens on the other municipalities in the region.  Additionally, directing more affordable housing development to urban municipalities would help minimize urban sprawl and would direct development to areas that already have extensive infrastructure in place, allowing for more cost-effective accommodation of new development.