TOWNSHIP AFFORDABLE HOUSING ATTORNEY FILES PROPOSED
AFFORDABLE HOUSING CHANGES WITH COURT
The Township’s plan to comply with its constitutional affordable housing obligations is being litigated. A Judge gave the Township an effective deadline of May 19, 2019 to identify an alternative site to the so-called “Pennrose Site” where a 75-unit affordable housing development was proposed as part of the Township’s plan.
The Township’s Affordable Housing Counsel submitted a court filing late this afternoon identifying an alternative site and proposing other changes to the Township’s efforts to provide affordable housing opportunities as required by the New Jersey State Constitution. Other changes include, but aren’t limited to, recognizing and addressing a constitutional requirement to provide additional affordable housing due, in part, to the Diocese of Trenton’s intent to make certain property available for affordable housing.
The Alternative Site: The Miles Technology Site:
The Miles Technology Site (a site located on State Highway 38) was first proposed as an alternative to the Pennrose Site in April, 2019 by a reputable developer of quality affordable housing initiatives. The Miles Technology Site, like the Pennrose Site, is located on State Highway 38. It contains a vacant commercial building. Several factors make the site a viable alternative. Similar to the Pennrose site, the property is situated near public transportation and job opportunities, which are important for the families who would live there. The site would be eligible to compete for federal tax benefits that will minimize the impact to property taxpayers. And the current owner of the vacant property has been engaged in an effort to sell or otherwise repurpose the underutilized site.
Neither the Township nor any affordable housing developer owns the Miles Technology Site. However, there are discussions regarding site acquisition with the owner of the Miles Technology Site for the public purpose of complying with constitutional requirements to make affordable housing available in the event the Pennrose site is unavailable.
The Diocese Property
The Diocese of Trenton notified the Township in February, 2019 that it no longer intends to build a church on certain property it owns on Centerton Road and offered to make the property available, in part, to address affordable housing needs. The proposed use of the property by its owner, and its inclusion in the county wastewater management plan, triggered an additional obligation on the part of the Township to provide affordable housing. To accommodate the additional affordable housing requirement in the most reasonable cost-efficient manner, the filing proposes that the Diocese site be rezoned for up to 83 dwelling units with 20% designated as affordable housing, to be paid for by the developer of the site. Though some people have advocated that the site be used as an alternative to the Pennrose Site for a 100% affordable housing initiative, it is inappropriate - primarily, because the site would not qualify for federal tax credits, and the cost of affordable housing would, therefore, have been borne by Moorestown property taxpayers.
The court filing and legal advertisements concerning same can be found here.