NEW JERSEY – Senator Joe Pennacchio has introduced legislation that would help towns meet a significant portion of their affordable housing obligations through regional contribution agreements (RCAs).
“Towns across New Jersey are having a really difficult time trying to find space for the massive numbers of new affordable housing units they’ve been mandated to build,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “In many cases, towns are being forced to destroy what little remaining open space they have and are building at much higher densities than their communities can support. To help relieve this burden, we’re proposing legislation that would allow towns to use RCAs once again to support the construction of affordable housing in the places that can best support it.”
Pennacchio’s legislation, S-3803, would amend the Fair Housing Act to reauthorize the use of regional contribution agreements by municipalities to meet affordable housing needs. The bill also establishes a role in the approval process for the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the Commissioner of Community Affairs, and the Attorney General.
Since 2008, municipalities have been prohibited from using RCAs to address fair share housing obligations.
This measure would allow a municipality to propose transferring up to 50% of its fair share housing obligation to another municipality within its housing region through an RCA. This matches the portion of a fair share housing obligation that had been transferrable prior to 2008.
“It’s been a struggle to comply with affordable housing quotas that don’t seem to reflect what’s really possible to build in our town,” said Florham Park Mayor Mark Taylor. “As things stand, the unique nature of Florham Park is at risk of being changed forever as a result of the development we’re being forced to build. Senator Pennacchio’s legislation would be a big step in the right direction for municipalities like ours that are desperate for relief.”