SENATE, No. 4115







Sponsored by:


District 25 (Morris and Somerset)






        Requires COAH to credit municipalities with units against fair share affordable housing obligation for certain types of housing; provides certain types of affordable housing units will be credited as two units.



        As introduced.


An Act concerning affordable housing and amending P.L.1985, c.222.


        Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


        1.       Section 7 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-307) is amended to read as follows:

        7.       It shall be the duty of the council, seven months after the confirmation of the last member initially appointed to the council, or January 1, 1986, whichever is earlier, and from time to time thereafter, to:

        a.         Determine housing regions of the State;

        b.       Estimate the present and prospective need for low and moderate income housing at the State and regional levels;

        c.         Adopt criteria and guidelines for:

        (1)     Municipal determination of its present and prospective fair share of the housing need in a given region which shall be computed for a 10-year period.

        Municipal fair share shall be determined after crediting on a one-to-one basis each current unit of low and moderate income housing of adequate standard, including any such housing constructed or acquired as part of a housing program specifically intended to provide housing for low and moderate income households. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a municipality shall be entitled to a credit for a unit if it demonstrates that (a) the municipality issued a certificate of occupancy for the unit, which was either newly constructed or rehabilitated between April 1, 1980 and December 15, 1986; (b) a construction code official certifies, based upon a visual exterior survey, that the unit is in compliance with pertinent construction code standards with respect to structural elements, roofing, siding, doors and windows; (c) the household occupying the unit certifies in writing, under penalty of perjury, that it receives no greater income than that established pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-304) to qualify for moderate income housing; and (d) the unit for which credit is sought is affordable to low and moderate income households under the standards established by the council at the time of filing of the petition for substantive certification.   It shall be sufficient if the certification required in subparagraph (c) is signed by one member of the household.   A certification submitted pursuant to this paragraph shall be reviewable only by the council or its staff and shall not be a public record;

        Nothing in P.L.1995, c.81 shall affect the validity of substantive certification granted by the council prior to November 21, 1994, or of a judgment of compliance entered by any court of competent jurisdiction prior to that date.   Additionally, any municipality that received substantive certification or a judgment of compliance prior to November 21, 1994 and filed a motion prior to November 21, 1994 to amend substantive certification or a judgment of compliance for the purpose of obtaining credits, shall be entitled to a determination of its right to credits pursuant to the standards established by the Legislature prior to P.L.1995, c.81.   Any municipality that filed a motion prior to November 21, 1994 for the purpose of obtaining credits, which motion was supported by the results of a completed survey performed pursuant to council rules, shall be entitled to a determination of its right to credits pursuant to the standards established by the Legislature prior to P.L.1995, c.81;

        (2)     Municipal adjustment of the present and prospective fair share based upon available vacant and developable land, infrastructure considerations or environmental or historic preservation factors and adjustments shall be made whenever:

        (a)     The preservation of historically or important architecture and sites and their environs or environmentally sensitive lands may be jeopardized,

        (b)     The established pattern of development in the community would be drastically altered,

        (c)     Adequate land for recreational, conservation or agricultural and farmland preservation purposes would not be provided,

        (d)     Adequate open space would not be provided,

        (e)     The pattern of development is contrary to the planning designations in the State Development and Redevelopment Plan prepared pursuant to sections 1 through 12 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et seq.),

        (f)     Vacant and developable land is not available in the municipality, and

        (g)     Adequate public facilities and infrastructure capacities are not available, or would result in costs prohibitive to the public if provided.

        (3)     (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1993, c.31).

        d.       Provide population and household projections for the State and housing regions;

        e.         In its discretion, place a limit, based on a percentage of existing housing stock in a municipality and any other criteria including employment opportunities which the council deems appropriate, upon the aggregate number of units which may be allocated to a municipality as its fair share of the region's present and prospective need for low and moderate income housing.   No municipality shall be required to address a fair share of housing units affordable to households with a gross household income of less than 80% of the median gross household income beyond 1,000 units within ten years from the grant of substantive certification, unless it is demonstrated, following objection by an interested party and an evidentiary hearing, based upon the facts and circumstances of the affected municipality that it is likely that the municipality through its zoning powers could create a realistic opportunity for more than 1,000 low and moderate income units within that ten-year period.   For the purposes of this section, the facts and circumstances which shall determine whether a municipality's fair share shall exceed 1,000 units, as provided above, shall be a finding that the municipality has issued more than 5,000 certificates of occupancy for residential units in the ten-year period preceding the petition for substantive certification in connection with which the objection was filed.

        For the purpose of crediting low and moderate income housing units in order to arrive at a determination of present and prospective fair share, as set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection c. of this section, housing units comprised in a com