BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Township Council approved a resolution that settles their affordable housing commitment, and ensures the township does not need to build any more units in the foreseeable future.
“We are in an enviable position because we have provided affordable housing in the past,” township administrator James Naples said. “It is enviable because our neighboring municipalities and others throughout the state are having a dilemma in finding a plan that will change the municipality, but that’s not happening here.”
Requirements for affordable housing in New Jersey have changed recently with regard to how many units each municipality is required to build. Towns, including Bridgewater, had been in a state of flux, waiting for the new guidelines and to determine if their requirements for affordable housing had been fulfilled.
Bridgewater filed a judgment action in July 2015 seeking declaration that it was in compliance with the state's Mt. Laurel Doctrine and Fair Housing Act of 1985. From there, the township received immunity from the court, which has since been extended.
According to township attorney William Savo, because the township has been providing affordable housing over the years, they are entering into a settlement that says they have fulfilled their quota and do not need to do any rezoning in the township for additional affordable housing.
“Other towns are struggling because the Supreme Court has decided there is a gap,” he said. “Towns have settled, but other ones require the construction of units. Bridgewater is not required to build any additional units because we have been doing our job.”
Councilman Filipe Pedroso said this is a good thing for the township.
“The fact that we don’t have to build any more affordable housing is a good thing, and the fact that we don’t have to litigate this is a fabulous thing,” he said.
Savo said the fair share group in the state has already approved the settlement, and they just need one more final approval.
“I think it will be approved by the court,” he said. “It’s a brilliant piece of work.”