RARITAN TWP, NJ - Raritan Township is expanding its latest affordable housing redevelopment plan to add a lot that will provide better access to a proposed community off Walter Foran Boulevard, also known as Junction Road.
After reaching a Fair Share Housing court settlement in January, the township decided to rezone a roughly 9-acre tract to allow for 100 affordable housing units to be built. In July, it approved a redevelopment plan that called for a mix of two- and three-story townhouses and multifamily rental units.
The township started to lay the groundwork for the settlement last summer when it appointed Junction Road Urban Renewal Associates LLC of Collingswood to build the homes. In exchange, it’s given the developer a 35-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement that calls for the developer to pay 6.38 percent of the annual profits from the rentals instead of property taxes for the first 15 years.
The PILOT is graduated over the next 20 years so the developer will pay either that rate on yearly profits or 20 percent of the property tax that would be on the property, whichever is greater for the next five years. That increases to 40 percent of property tax revenue through the 24th year of the agreement, going up to 60 percent of property tax revenue until the 27th year of the agreement, then escalating to 80 percent of property tax revenue through the 30th year of the agreement, before reverting to 100 percent property taxes in the 35th year of the agreement.
The developer will be required to provided annual audited statements that include net profits to determine the annual assessment.
"Without the incentive of the long-term tax exemption, it is unlikely that the project would be undertaken," the agreement said.
The developer will still need to get site plans approved by the township’s planning board.
Affordable housing units are available to eligible residents based on income which can range from $22,941 for a one-person household up to $87,393 for a family of four. Rents are established under the terms of the court settlement, and can only be raised by a certain amount each year, aiming to keep the units affordable.
Information and applications for applying to live in one of the units is available on the township’s website.
Raritan Township has roughly 10 communities that offer such units, include the Willows at Flemington Junction on Justin Court, just north of the proposed Junction Road development.
After approving the redevelopment plan in July, the township sent it to county planners for approval. The county asked for a different access route from Walter Foran/Junction Road. The township complied by adding an additional lot to the redevelopment area, and that change will now be subject to a public hearing on Oct. 20.
Currently, the site is home to a chicken farm, landscape business and four homes.
This development will put the township in complete compliance with its court settlement, said township administrator Donald Hutchins.
“We have a lot of affordable housing,” he said. “We actually did very well with our settlement and are very pleased.”