Affordable Housing 101: A Brief History

51f8e56929756c9353b3_1c7e9a3cf9b76bd81264_Falcon.jpg
Christopher "Kit" Falcon, Millburn Township Attorney Credits: Brad Klein
4ea9cd0253331fafdc30_202efa99f53cd0c07ad0_Buzak.jpg
Edward Buzak, Millburn Township Planning Board Attorney Credits: Brad Klein
08081363f445099985f9_4611ae0c72a3ff2fa4f9_Phillips.jpg
Paul Phillips, Millburn Township Planner Credits: Brad Klein
51f8e56929756c9353b3_1c7e9a3cf9b76bd81264_Falcon.jpg

MILLBURN, NJ - Township Attorney Christopher Falcon led a discussion on the history and the current situation of low and moderate income housing in Millburn and New Jersey Wednesday night at Town Hall. Joining Falcon was Planning Board Attorney Edward Buzak and Township Planner Paul Phillips.

In its most understandable form, zoning is the creation of land use regulations to allocate space within a community.  Municipalities use the power to zone as a means to identify compatible land uses for designated areas.  However, it can also be an exclusionary technique designed to prevent low-income individuals from living in certain municipalities.

In 1975 the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that municipalities must establish a variety of housing options for individuals in all zones. The court mandated that every municipality must provide its “fair share” of the region’s present and prospective demands for affordable housing. Subsequently the Mt. Laurel Doctrines were established, taking its name from the lead case in which plaintiffs challenged the zoning ordinance in Mt. Laurel Township. 

Sign Up for E-News

The court stated that a municipality must express its affordable housing obligation through specific numbers and further explained that the Mt. Laurel obligation could only be satisfied if a municipality has, in fact, provided a realistic opportunity for the construction of its fair share low and moderate income housing. 

Falcon explained “through its zoning, it must make for a reasonable opportunity for [the development of low and moderate income housing] to occur.”

The court also implemented a builder’s remedy, which allows developers to obtain approval to build low and moderate income housing even if a town has not approved it. This created an incentive for developers to take municipalities to court in the hopes that affordable housing developments can override municipal zoning requirements.

Accepting the premise that there constitutional obligations for municipalities to foster some degree of affordable housing, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Fair Housing Act, which established the Council of Affordable Housing, or COAH, in 1985.  COAH became the agency responsible for developing the state’s affordable housing plans and ensuring that towns comply with the Mt. Laurel Doctrine.

Municipalities thinking that the COAH numbers were too high and housing advocates thinking the numbers were too low ultimately led to multiple legislative failures.  The New Jersey Appellate court struck down COAH rules “due to COAH’s inability to produce acceptable supporting data” said Falcon.  

In an effort to devise a better system to establish fair municipal housing obligations, COAH reached out to the public. In 2003-2004, COAH decided it would establish a ration whereby “depending upon how much growth occurred in a municipality, you would then have a simultaneous obligation to provide a realistic opportunity for the construction of affordable housing. Build as you grow.” said Buzak.

In 2007 the appellate division of the courts invalidated the rules that were established just three years prior because the municipalities were given the ability to “control their own destiny” said Buzak. COAH tried to satisfy the requests of the appellate courts, but failed.

“What are the post 1999 municipal fair share obligations?” Paul Phillips posed.

Phillips went on to say that the quantity of low and moderate income housing requirements for municipalities is “ridiculous”. He further stated that Millburn Township does not have enough resources to meet the required number.  However, there are a number of mechanisms, which municipalities can adopt to meet its obligations.

Through inclusionary zoning “You [build] things such as accessory apartments and group homes, which would be supportive housing for the special needs population.” Said Phillips.  “Assisted living facilities would qualify as affordable housing”. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Vehicle Stolen from Residence; Millburn Police Department Investigating

May 10, 2018

On May 2, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Barbosa responded to Neiman Marcus on a theft report. Neiman Marcus personnel report a black male wearing a black jumpsuit with the word “Kappa” on the front, and a black male wearing a blue shirt with the word “Champion” on the front each took a backpack valued at $1195.00 each and left the store without making payment. The incident ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

Upcoming Millburn Township Committee Primary Election

May 12, 2018

Dear Fellow Millburn and Short Hills Residents,

Having given the selection of a candidate for the upcoming Millburn Township Committee primary election some serious thought, I have come to the conclusion that Corey Biller has the credentials to move the Township forward in a positive manner.

I know that Corey will bring a new and positive sensibility to the Committee, one that is ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_c19129d5beaa356fde55_409d9c91c7a0a2c72ef9_image

Sun, May 20, 12:00 PM

YB Fitness, Short Hills

Cycle for Wheels Spin-a-thon for MSHVFAS

Carousel_image_27a1c651521c971f9a4d_1cdb218c0a6934197fac_b2a4cff22151f502f44b2552724bef71_xl

Thu, May 24, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Understanding Hearing Loss

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_5e04ad2ab20990a85225_da97f2a9df7ada16e603_best_crop_05ec05a6516f3f538bac_3a7a784dfab2e460085f_img_0033_2x

Wed, May 30, 6:15 PM

Millburn High School (Back grass fields), Millburn

Millburn Color Run

Arts & Entertainment Education Giving Back Other

Carousel_image_a95462779786ad34c46c_swain_nicole_02_med

Wed, June 6, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Mindfulness Approach to Stress

Health & Wellness

Suicide Awareness and Intervention Training coming to Millburn Library May 23

May 19, 2018

Caring Contact, a crisis hotline that serves Northern and Central New Jersey, will host Suicide Awareness and Intervention Training at the Millburn Library on May 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. There is no cost for this training but space is limited so registration is recommended.

 

To register, visit http://weblink.donorperfect.com/SuicideAwarenessSpring2018.

 

Caring contact's ...

Uber & Mack-Cali Partnership Expands to Four New Locations in Short Hills

NEW JERSEY - Uber and Mack-Cali Realty Corporation (NYSE: CLI) are announcing the expansion of their relationship to include a commuter ridesharing partnership at four commercial properties in Short Hills, NJ. Similar to a program that was announced in February at Mack-Cali’s properties in Metropark, the partnership caters to the modern office worker’s desire to live a car-free, ...

Street Dedication Ceremony Honoring Scoutmaster Fineran Set for Sunday

Street Dedication Ceremony Honoring Late Scoutmaster Ken Fineran Officially Scheduled
Sunday May 20 at 11:00 am

Millburn Township and Boy Scout Troop 17 of St. Rose of Lima will be honoring the life and accomplishments our beloved Scoutmaster Kenneth W. Fineran on Sunday, May 20th. Troop 17 Scouts, in conjunction with Millburn Township and St. Rose of Lima Church, have scheduled two ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...