Ho-Ho-Kus December 2, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 5 Borough council appoints COAH Mediation Team by Jennifer Crusco The Ho-Ho-Kus Council has approved a resolution that appoints a Council on Affordable Housing Mediation Team, which will address the Fair Share Housing Center’s objection to the borough’s latest petition for substantive certification from COAH. Team members will include Ho-Ho-Kus Councilman Douglas Troast, Planner Janice Talley, Ho-Ho-Kus Borough Attorney David Bole, and Ho-Ho-Kus Planning Board Chairman John Hanlon. If a written decision is reached during the mediation, Troast will be authorized to execute that pact on the municipality’s behalf. Borough Attorney Bole explained that the Fair Share Housing Center, a group of affordable housing advocates, had objected to the borough’s plan. He said that, once such an objection has been filed, COAH requires the borough to name a team to negotiate a solution. Last December, Ho-Ho-Kus officials submitted a plan to the state, which included plans for just one affordable home based on the borough’s assertion that it does not have sufficient vacant land for any more housing. 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. In 2008, 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 borough’s highly limited supply of unconstrained vacant land,” Talley’s report states. Her report addresses the borough’s third round obligation, 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 obligations, and very little development activity has taken place in the borough since the most recent vacant land adjustment was granted. In summary, the borough simply does not have sufficient land for any new development, and therefore the growth share obligation 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 with minimal developable land available.” Officials, including Talley, believe COAH is using flawed methods to calculate affordable housing obligations. 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 Environmental Protection cover data, not land use data. Mayor Thomas Randall and the borough council previously directed Talley to include land use maps in her presentation to illustrate the concept that Ho-Ho-Kus does not have available vacant land to accommodate multiple 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 (continued on page 13) Your Remote Control HQ Featuring: You’re Source for R/C (Radio Control) Hobbyists KITS AND READY TO RUN, GAS / ELECTRIC CARS, BOATS, TRUCKS, BUGGIES, AIRPLANES, HELICOPTERS! Extensive Parts for the Above to Keep You On the Road and In the Air! We Specialize In Repairing and Customizing! Extremely Knowledgeable Staff Waiting to Assist Your Every Need! Too Many Features to List, So Come On In to See for Yourself! 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