Tinton Falls adopts affordable housing ordinance

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TINTON FALLS – The Borough Council has adopted an ordinance that will implement Tinton Falls’ third round housing plan element and fair share plan and provide the borough with immunity from developers’ lawsuits through 2025.

The ordinance relates to the development of affordable housing in the borough. Affordable housing is defined as housing that is sold or rented at below market rates to individuals and families whose income meets certain guidelines.

Borough Council President Gary Baldwin, Deputy Council President John Manginelli, Councilwoman Nancyanne Fama and Councilman Brock Siebert adopted the ordinance during a council meeting on April 16. Councilman Christopher Pak was absent.

The adoption of the ordinance settled a legal action involving Tinton Falls and the Fair Share Housing Center, which is headquartered in Cherry Hill. The Fair Share Housing Center advocates for the construction of affordable housing throughout New Jersey.

By way of explanation, the ordinance states that Tinton Falls has “entered into a settlement agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center … establishing the borough’s third round affordable housing obligation for the period 1999-2025 and the compliance mechanisms by which the borough will meet its constitutional obligation to provide for its fair share of affordable housing.”

The settlement agreement between the two parties has been approved by state Superior Court Jamie Perri, sitting in Freehold, according to attorney Andrew Bayer, who represents the borough on issues related to affordable housing.

Bayer spoke prior to the council’s vote to adopt the ordinance. He said Perri approved the settlement agreement during a recent fairness hearing and found the agreement is fair to low and moderate income households.

Bayer said the judge’s approval was subject to the adoption of the affordable housing ordinance that was before the council that evening. He said a final compliance hearing has been scheduled for May 15.

During the public hearing on the ordinance, Gerry Turning, a former mayor, complimented and thanked Bayer for his work on the affordable housing issue.

“Mr. Bayer has put this borough in a good position moving forward,” Turning said.

Baldwin seconded Turning’s comments and thanked Bayer for his efforts.

“It’s been a long road,” Bayer said, explaining that the court’s approval of the settlement agreement means Tinton Falls will have immunity through July 1, 2025 from lawsuits relating to affordable housing.

The affordable housing ordinance describes how Tinton Falls will rehabilitate certain dwellings so those dwellings count toward the borough’s affordable housing obligation; how municipal officials will provide opportunities for the construction of affordable units at several locations; and how Tinton Falls will market its affordable housing on a regional basis to attract individuals who meet the qualifications needed to obtain affordable housing.

Bayer previously said Tinton Falls has achieved 597 affordable housing credits, including bonus credits received for certain housing.

The ordinance describes the standards a developer will have to follow in order to construct affordable housing in the borough.