RARITAN TWP., N.J. – The Raritan Township Committee has approved a revision of affordable housing ordinances to satisfy requirements of a settlement with a South Jersey organization.
The vote, 4-1, took place during the committee’s Tuesday meeting with no public comment given.
The revisions were introduced during a committee meeting in late January.
Mayor Jeff Kuhl said the ordinances were to be reviewed in state Superior Court Thursday, before being officially implemented as of Friday after the judge signed off on the settlement.
The ordinance makes provisions pursuant to the conditions of approval of the township’s settlement of the litigation on affordable housing. As a condition of approval for the lawsuit, the township was required to revise its affordable housing ordinances regarding its obligation for affordable housing.
According to the new ordinance, any site that benefits from a rezoning or redevelopment plan approved by the township with multi-family residential development of five or more units will have affordable housing at a set-aside rate of 20 percent for for-sale affordable units and 15 percent for rental affordable units.
The new ordinance also details that the township’s rehabilitation obligation is 16 units, and it will continue to sponsor a local rehabilitation program to satisfy that need, updating and renovating deficient housing units occupied by low and moderate income households.
The township committee, through the ordinance as well, has endorsed an amended Housing Element and Fair Share Plan.
Both the revised ordinances and the amended plan are part of a settlement with Cherry Hill-based Fair Share Housing Center, which took Raritan Township and several other municipalities in the state to court after the Council on Affordable Housing failed to enforce affordable housing requirements.
A 2015 ruling from the state Supreme Court forced municipalities to settle with the organization.
A settlement reached between the township and the organization was approved by the committee last June. The settlement itself is similar to one reached with the other municipalities involved in the lawsuit.
Committeeman Lou Reiner was the lone vote against the revised ordinances and endorsement of the amended plan. He declined to comment on his nay votes and referred to his “well documented” statements online.
At a 2018 committee meeting, where the discussion centered on a settlement in the case, Reiner characterized it as “state-sanctioned extortion.”
He described a proposed project to build affordable housing at the time as “taxing one segment of the population to subsidize another with the intent to redistribute population in an effort for the governor and his ilk to buy more votes out in Republican strongholds.”