Welcome to the Holland Township Affordable Housing Web Page
A Brief History and Overview on Affordable Housing Requirements in New Jersey
In 1975, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that municipalities should provide for a variety and choice of housing types within their boundaries so that households at all income levels would have an opportunity to find housing. In 1983, the Supreme Court expanded this decision and held that allmunicipalities had to address their own indigenous needs for low and moderate income housing, and thatdeveloping municipalities also had to affirmatively plan and zone for their respective shares of the State’s present and prospective need for low and moderate-income housing.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) was enacted by the New Jersey Legislature in 1985 in an effort to respond to the Court-mandated requirements. The Fair Housing Act established the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and empowered COAH to adopt regulations to implement the Fair Housing Act.
COAH has developed substantive and procedural Rules pertaining to the provision of affordable housing and has, from time to time, assigned fair share numbers to each municipality. Each time COAH has issued new fair share numbers, the new number assigned to a given municipality is intended to cover the obligation generated by that municipality over a specific period of time.
COAH’s Rules offer a number of different options for providing affordable housing. COAH reviews and approves each municipality’s Housing Element and Fair Share Plan (plan for providing affordable housing) and grants or withholds “Substantive Certification” of the municipality's Housing Element and Fair Share Plan based on a determination of its compliance with all of COAH’s Rules. Municipalities that have certified plans are expected to implement them, and a failure to do so can result in a withdrawal of COAH's certification.
Receiving Substantive Certification from COAH protects a municipality from the alternative of an exclusionary zoning lawsuit, which generally results in the award of a “builders remedy” to the plaintiff. A “builder’s remedy” is awarded by the Court when a municipality does not have a certified plan indicating how it will meet its fair share of the State’s need for affordable housing and is found to have insufficiently planned and zoned to meet that fair share obligation. If the builder-plaintiff proposes to provide a "substantial amount of affordable housing" and if the site is not demonstrated by the municipality to be wholly unsuitable for the proposed inclusionary development, the builder's remedy is generally awarded. If this occurs, the successful builder-plaintiff is permitted by the Court to bypass local zoning laws and build a higher density of residential development as long as the development includes a substantial set-aside of affordable housing units. In light of this, it is in the best interests of municipalities to have COAH’s protection through the Substantive Certification process to protect them from a “builders remedy” lawsuit.
A Summary of Holland's Past and Current Affordable Housing Activities
First Round Plan
Holland Township received its first round Substantive Certification from COAH in 1992. At that time, the Township’s initial fair share obligation was limited to its indigenous need - its obligation to rehabilitate (bring up to Code) 28 homes in the Township that were determined based upon the 1980 U.S. Census to be substandard and occupied by low and moderate income households. Of those 28 units, 26 units were actually rehabilitated pursuant to the first round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan.
Second Round Plan
Holland Township’s second round fair share allocation from COAH was 47 units: a 31 unit rehabilitation obligation (based on the 1990 U.S. Census) and a 16 unit new construction obligation. The Township was given credit against the 31 units rehabilitation obligation for the 26 units that had been rehabilitated in the first round, since all of that rehabilitation occurred after the date of the 1990 U.S. Census. As a result, only 5 units remained to be rehabilitated in the second round, and the total number of low and moderate income housing units that needed to be addressed in the Township's second round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan was thereby reduced to 21 units. The Township's second round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan was certified by COAH at the end of 2004. The plan proposed to address the 21 unit remaining obligation in the following manner:
1) Four (4) unit Regional Contribution Agreement (RCA) with the city of Lambertville. This has been fully executed.
2) Four (4) units of affordable age-restricted housing. These units have not been built, although approvals were granted to Huntington Knolls for the contrcution of these units.3) Ten (10) accessory apartments. Seven (7) of these accessory apartments have been completed and are occupied by qualified households. The Township is close to finalizing contracts to create the remaining three accessory apartments.4) Five (5) units of rehabilitaion. These units were completed.
|Age Restricted Housing
|Total Units Complete as of 6/09
Holland's second round substantive certification was orginally intended to protect the Township from a "builders remedy" lawsuit until 2010, but COAH has since held that such protection only extends to the fulfillment of the second round fair share obligation. The third round fair share obligation began accuring in 2004. Municipalities were not automatically protected by their second round certifications from "builders remedy" lawsuits related to third round. However, Holland Township filed an "interim" third round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan in time to meet the deadline (May 15, 2007) that had been set by COAH, and this was sufficent to remain in COAH's jurisdiction until COAH's revised third round were adopted and a new third round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan could be prepared and submitted to COAH along with a new petition.
Third Round Plan
Ordinarily, Holland Township would have been required to petition COAH for substantive certification of a new third round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan by December 31, 2008. However, Holland Township lies within the State's Highlands Region. A portion of the Township is in the Preservation Area of the Highlands Region; most of the Township is in the Planning Area of the Highlands Region. Based upon a Memorandum of Understanding achieved between COAH and the Highlands Council early in the fall of 2008, towns in the Highlands Region that are wholly within the Preservation Area or that are wholly or partly in the Planning Area and formally agreed to consider "opting in" to the jurisdiction of the Highlands Council and to conform their Master Plans and Zoning Ordinances to the Highlands Regional Master Plan were granted an extension until December 8, 2009, for the submission of their third round Housing Elements and Fair Share Plans to COAH.
Holland Township chose to take advantage of this extension, although the Township will soon need to make a final decision as to whether to petition the Highlands Council for Plan Conformance, so that it can either prepare and submit to COAH a Highlands-conforming Housing Element and Fair Share Plan or a COAH-conforming Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, with the difference being the question of how much growth can be anticipated in the Township between 2004 and 2018 and what that amount of growth means in terms of the third round fair share obligation.
The Highlands Council's calculation of the third round obligation for Holland Township has not yet been established. However, we know the following:
1. The Township will have a rehabilitation obligation of 25 units, based upon the 2000 Census. Any rehabilitation completed after 4/1/00 meeting COAH's Rules in effect at the time such rehabilitation occurred can be credited against that 25 unit obligation.
2. The Township will have a prior round obligation of 17 new construction units.
3. If the Township elects not to opt in to the Highlands Council's jurisdiction, its third round growth share obligation would be the 41 units projected by COAH.
4. If the Township elects to opt in to the Highlands Council's jurisdiction, its third round growth share obligation may be less than the 41 units projected by COAH, but it is not yet known how much less.
5. Regardless of the "growth share" number that the third round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan will be required to address, once granted, the third round Substantive Certification will protect the Township from builder's remedy lawsuits until the end of 2018.
Holland Township Third Round Housing Element and Fair Share Plan
According to the Fair Housing Act, the Township is not required to fund the provision of affordable housing. Fees are collected from developers under the Development Fee Ordinance and are intended to cover the costs of the housing rehabilitation program and the accessory apartments program. However, the limited amount of development that has occurred in Holland Township has not yielded sufficient fees to cover the full costs of these programs. Moreover, the State law concerning the levying of development fees on non-residential developments (previously at 2.5% of the increase in equalized valuation) is about to change (as of July, 2009), and, in general, non-residential developments approved prior to July 1, 2010, will not be permitted to be charged a development fee.
Here is the link to the COAH website where additional, more technical information can be obtained, including COAH's current Substantive and Procedural Rules: http://www.nj.gov/dca/affiliates/coah/