Council will hold a special meeting at town hall Thursday night.
March 14, 2018 | Moorestown Patch Online
MOORESTOWN, NJ — Moorestown Council will vote on whether it should enter into an agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center when it meets as part of a special meeting on Thursday night, March 15. The meeting will begin with a closed session at 6 p.m., followed by the official action meeting at 7:30 p.m.
It will be held at town hall, 111 West Second Street. The official action meeting will begin with comments from the public on the proposed plan before council takes a final vote.
The number of required affordable housing units in municipalities statewide has been in dispute, and often in litigation, since 1999. In 2015, authority concerning setting affordable housing requirements for municipalities throughout the state fell on the courts.
Moorestown currently has 332 affordable housing units in the township, and a total of 7,950 homes overall, according to Housing Planner Beth McManus.
The Fair Share Housing Center, a public interest group established in 1975 to monitor, enforce and expand guidelines for affordable housing requirements, initially calculated that Moorestown needed 1,667 additional moderate and low income housing units to satisfy its third round housing obligation, according to their expert.
Through negotiations and the use of a Vacant Land Adjustment, which is when a “municipality shows it does not have adequate resources (land water and/or sewer) to provide a realistic opportunity for addressing the need for low and moderate income housing,” the township was able to get its obligation lowered to 606 units.
It must build 337 new affordable housing units by 2025. That number is divided among a number of plans. McManus said there were four intervener developers the township is working with.
One developer is on Centerton Road, where a 130-unit senior luxury property is proposed. With 81 affordable units, the total number of units proposed for the proposed development is 211. This proposal includes services and amenities, and would bring ratables to the township. The transportation would be provided.
Two other developers would build on Route 38, with one development proposing 173 units, 35 of which would be low and moderate income. The other is a 100 percent affordable development, with a total of 75 units.
A fourth developer would build no more than 60 units on the Lenola Shopping Center, 12 of which would be low and moderate income.
The township is also looking at re-zoning an area of land off Lenola Road near Cinnaminson in order to build 180 units, 32 of which would be affordable.
The Nagle Tract off Hartford Road, which the township already said wouldn’t be 100 percent affordable housing, would see 152 total new units, 45 of which would be low and moderate income.
The township is looking at three programs to fill the rest of its need. One is Community Options Inc., a nationally based nonprofit (IRS 501(c)(3) certified) organization incorporated in 1989 and headquartered in Princeton.
Community Options serves thousands of individuals with disabilities throughout 11 states, including Arizona, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, according to its website. It supports support individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fragile X Syndrome, Prader-Willi, and traumatic brain injury. Many of the individuals it serves also have co-occurring medical and mental health conditions such as Seizure Disorder, Pica, Diabetes, Mood Disorders, Schizoaffective Disorders, and Impulse Control Disorders.
The next is the Market to Affordable program. Market-affordable housing consists of non-subsidized rental units affordable to households. The township would purchase homes, and resell them as affordable units.
Under the third option, owners of existing homes would be permitted to rent out part of their homes to those in need who qualify for low and moderate housing.
The township also has an “unmet need” of 300 units that may be met with overlay zoning (a zoning option that permits residential housing while maintaining the underlying zoning). The Moorestown Mall, the K-Mart Shopping Center and the Lenola Shopping Center are all under consideration for this option. Each center would maintain their commercial uses, while adding a mix of market rate and affordable housing.