Howell Affordable Housing Update

State lawmakers think that taxpayers should have a greater say in the affordable housing process and create a plan that works for their town. (Photos by Sara Grillo)

HOWELL – Township Attorney Andrew Bayer said a meeting was held between Howell’s Special Court Master Betsy McKenzie and the builders, or interveners, at the Monmouth County Courthouse. During that meeting the status of the town’s affordable housing plan was discussed. At that time, Howell had 270 credits toward its third round affordable housing obligation.

“That’s excluding the Walters Project, which has been approved,” he said. “So with the additional 72 credits we have approximately 340 credits at this time.”

Bayer said they are still awaiting direction from the court as to what the township’s affordable housing obligation will be.

He also brought up an ongoing trial in Mercer County whose outcome is significant to Howell because it is part of the same Coalition on Affordable Housing (COAH) region. Once a decision is made in that trial, the township will have a good sense of what its own affordable housing obligation will be.

“That decision is still pending, so we’re still awaiting an assignment,” said Bayer.

In the meantime, McKenzie has asked Howell to continue discussing potential opportunities with interveners.

“At this point in time, there is really nothing else in terms of the public we could disclose because it’s an ongoing litigation process.”

In other news, council voted for the administrator for the Borough of Highlands, Brian Geoghegan, to become its new township manager, filling the shoes of Jeffrey Mayfield.

Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell also urged residents to think about their health during October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She said the disease is not limited only to women, and everyone should do what they can to check themselves and visit their physicians during this time of awareness.

“It’s a very important month, so please don’t dismiss it,” said O’Donnell.