May-06-08 COAH ADOPTS NEW THIRD ROUND RULES
COAH ADOPTS NEW THIRD ROUND RULES
TRENTON, N.J. – The Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) today adopted its revised third round rules and methodology at its monthly COAH Board meeting. Additionally, as a result of the over 4,800 public comments received regarding the new rules, the Board also voted on a series of amendments. The new rules, which go into effect on June 2, 2008, continue to use a growth share approach which bases municipal affordable housing obligations on market-rate residential and non-residential growth. The rules establish a need of 115,000 units of affordable housing through 2018 (up from 52,000 in the previous rules) and will play a key role in Governor Corzine’s commitment to provide 100,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years. The complete list of amendments will be published in the June 16 NJ Register and will be open for a 60-day public comment period, which will end on August 15.
“Governor Corzine continues to stress the importance of providing quality affordable housing for New Jersey residents,” said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph Doria. “These revised rules were the result of input and participation provided by various stakeholders, from housing advocates and municipalities to the building community. These rules not only comply with the mandates given by the court, but they also establish ways in which to provide affordable housing for the hard working men and women of New Jersey.”
The rules establish a new growth share ratio of 1 affordable unit among 5 units and 1 affordable unit for every 16 jobs (previous ratios were 1 among 9 and 1 for every 25 jobs). Regional Contribution Agreement (RCA) amounts increase from $35,000 per unit to $67,000 to $80,000 per unit (depending upon region). The rules return to the previous age-restricted cap of 25% of a municipality’s total obligation.
The revisions are the result of a January 25, 2007 New Jersey Appellate Court decision affirming many aspects of COAH’s third round rules, invalidating others, and remanding certain issues to COAH for rulemaking. COAH unveiled the revised rules in December of 2007. During a 60 day public comment period, which ended on March 22, 2008, over 4,800 comments from 600 individuals and groups were submitted to COAH. COAH staff reviewed, analyzed and responded to all of the submitted comments.
As a direct result of this public input, COAH proposed several amendments to the new rules. They include: the deadline for municipalities to submit affordable housing plans to COAH has been amended to December 31, 2008; municipalities that approved affordable housing projects between 2004 and 2008 will receive a one-for-one bonus for each affordable housing unit approved; municipalities that include affordable housing units in smart growth areas near transit or those that include affordable housing units in redevelopment areas will receive a one-third bonus for every affordable unit approved; the number of jobs generated by warehouse construction will be reduced from 1.5 to 1 job per 1,000 square feet; COAH’s vacant land analysis will be revised to incorporate new DEP spatial data to expand the definition of C-1 streams, remove environmentally sensitive lands from current sewer service areas and recompute the development capacity of lands supported by septic systems pursuant the pending DEP Water Quality Management Act Rule; and the use of recently released Highlands spatial and other data to recompute the development capacity of lands in the Highlands Planning Area. The revisions in vacant land analysis will result in a revised estimate of 1,012,692 acres of unconstrained vacant land in New Jersey.
COAH, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, facilitates the production of sound, affordable housing for low and moderate income households by providing the most effective process to municipalities, housing providers, nonprofit and for profit developers to address a constitutional obligation within the framework of sound, comprehensive planning.
Further information on COAH’s revised rules is available by logging on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/affiliates/coah/.