FAIRFIELD, NJ — The Fairfield Township Council introduced four ordinances last week that would put set-aside guidelines for state-mandated affordable housing into the township’s master plan if adopted.
Township Business Administrator Joseph Catenaro explained that having these ordinances in place will help keep the township in compliance with the law ahead of its September meeting with the court.
“Every single available property in Fairfield is looked at by the Fair Share Housing Council (FSHC),” said Catenaro, adding that the number of housing units can be calculated if necessary.
According to Catenaro, Fairfield has been working on a plan for four years that will allow building to occur in non-residential zones such as Passaic Avenue, Fairfield Road and Two Bridges Road in order to meet state requirements. If the ordinances introduced last week are not adopted, Catenaro said that the state will be able to dictate where the housing should be located.
Catenaro added that Fairfield is being proactive in order to avoid builders’ remedy lawsuits, or legal action taken by a property developer in an attempt to force a municipality to permit construction of a large, multi-family housing structure or complex wherever the court deems fit. As an example, Catenaro stated that a neighboring community was mandated to put 40 units on a half-acre of property.
If adopted, the ordinance would provide an appropriation of $1.25 million for capital improvements and the authorization to issue bonds or notes of $1,187,500 for financing part of the appropriation.
The second reading and public hearing on these ordinances will be at the next council meeting on Monday, July 22.
In other news, the mayor and council appointed Geremia Helou to the library board to fill the unexpired term of Michael Corolla, whom he thanked for his 28 years of service.
Barbara Brown addressed the council on the United States 2020 census, explaining that the United States Constitution mandates a headcount every 10 years of everyone residing in the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the island areas of the United States. This includes people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens and noncitizens.
According to Brown, the first census was conducted in 1790, and one has been conducted every 10 years since. The totals determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. States also use the census to redraw their legislative and school districts, she said.
The population total affects funding in communities and helps decision makers know how their communities are changing, according to Brown. Approximately $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to communities each year.
Brown emphasized the need for workers 18 years and older for approximately 15 months of a “well-paying job.” To apply, visit 2020census.gov/jobs.