Villadom Times Weekly Newspaper Online - December 24, 2008 Issue

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Page 4 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • December 24, 2008 Ho-Ho-Kus Borough plans for single affordable housing unit by Jennifer Crusco In its third round calculations, the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing estimated that Ho- Ho-Kus would need to provide 49 homes for low- and moderate-income individuals and families, but the borough is making plans for just one affordable home based on the assertion that there is a dearth of vacant land. The Ho-Ho-Kus Planning Board and the Ho-Ho- Kus Borough Council approved the housing element fair share plan last week, in accordance with the state’s Dec. 31 deadline. The plan must now be presented to the state. Planner Janice Talley issued a summary of her findings, which states that Ho-Ho-Kus previously received substantive certification from COAH in 1991 and 1998. “In these prior rounds, COAH determined that the borough had no new construction obligation due to a vacant land adjustment. In other words, Ho- Ho-Kus was recognized (as being) ‘incapable’ (of) providing affordable housing units because of the bor- Helpful Hints Helpful Hints from ome Mary Says... ough’s highly limited supply of unconstrained vacant land,” Talley’s report states. Her report addresses the borough’s third round obli- gation, which includes a rehabilitation obligation (the renovation of existing buildings for use as affordable housing), a prior round obligation, and a growth share obligation for the period from 2004 through 2018. The growth share element requires one affordable unit to be provided for every four market rate units that are built, and one affordable unit for every 16 jobs created between 2004 and 2018. According to Talley’s report, “the borough has a zero obligation for rehabilitation units because no existing housing units were identified as deficient.” She also found that Ho-Ho-Kus has a zero prior round obligation due to the vacant land adjustment that had been granted to the borough in previous rounds of substantive certification. As a result, Talley found that the borough’s only obligation consists of the growth share element. “COAH projections indicate that Ho-Ho-Kus has a growth share obligation of 49 units. This plan seeks an adjustment to this projected need to one unit based on the fact that the borough received a vacant land adjustment for both the first and second round obliga- tions, and very little development activity has taken place in the borough since the most recent vacant land adjustment was granted. In summary, the bor- ough simply does not have sufficient land for any new development, and therefore the growth share obliga- tion should be reduced to one unit,” the report states. Talley provided current land use maps, which include environmental constraints restricting new development. She concluded that the borough’s land use maps indicate “the borough is fully developed “To test the freshness of an egg, place it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh, if it rises to the surface, discard it.” ����������������������� ������������������������� ���������� 100% Guaranteed SAVE BIG PRINT HAPPY 27 Franklin Tpk, Waldwick 201-652-5666 Open Sundays 9-3 201-934-0020 375 Route 17 South Ramsey, NJ ���������������������������� ���������������������������� ��������������������� with minimal developable land available.” Earlier this year, Ho-Ho-Kus opted to join the League of Municipalities official objection to COAH’s third round regulations. Officials, including Talley, believe COAH is using flawed methods to calculate affordable housing obli- gations. For example, Talley noted that COAH was working under the assumption that Ho-Ho-Kus has 94 acres of vacant land. She pointed out that the state appears to be working from Department of Environ- mental Protection cover data, not land use data. Mayor Thomas Randall and the borough council previously directed Talley to include land use maps in her presen- tation to illustrate the concept that Ho-Ho-Kus does not have available vacant land to accommodate mul- tiple units of affordable housing. The Sixteen Acres, Talley has said, is excluded from the calculation of vacant land by virtue of its listing in the Ho-Ho-Kus Master Plan as a property designated for passive use, recreation, or conservation. COAH’s third round rules also affect development fees municipalities may collect from the developers of new buildings. That fee has been one percent for residential buildings and two percent for non-residen- tial buildings. That fee will rise under the new regula- tions to 1.5 percent for residential and three percent for non-residential building. Fees are deposited in a municipality’s affordable housing trust fund for use towards future affordable housing costs. However, the new COAH regulations require municipalities to identify in their new affordable housing plan how that money will be spent and a time frame for the expendi- ture. If the timeline is not met, the state can take that money for a statewide development fee bank, leaving the funds available to other municipalities. FIREWOOD SERVICES ������������������ ������������������� �������������������������� ���������������������� � ��������������������� ������������������������������������� �������������