Howell Making Moves To Address Affordable Housing

Howell Township Municipal Building (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

HOWELL – Howell Township Council recently passed five resolutions that could allow for the township to begin fulfilling its affordable housing obligation.

At the Nov. 20 meeting, the council passed four resolutions which authorize developer’s agreements with Howell Family Apartments, LLC, Kenneth Zaback, Tyrpak Road Group, LLC and FP Howell LLC to construct affordable housing units. Township Attorney Joseph Clark confirmed this, and noted that the fifth resolution authorized an amended settlement agreement with the Fair Share Housing Center.

“The reason an amended agreement was required is because the original agreement referred to a developer that was no longer in the Township’s plan. For clarity’s sake, the new developer’s name was added to the amended settlement agreement prior to its submission to the Court for consideration at the Fairness Hearing,” said Clark.

In June 2018, the council approved a resolution that would allow for the negotiation of a settlement agreement before the Monmouth County Superior Court to establish Howell’s fair share affordable housing obligation at 895 units.

Jersey Shore Online reported that the resolution not only set the township’s obligation at 895 affordable housing credits, but it also provided the township time to come up with a compliant affordable housing plan and grants them immunity from builder’s remedy litigation, from builders who wish to build in the township.

Since that time, the township’s affordable housing obligation has remained the same. “Our obligation is 895 units. That has not changed. Our plan has not yet been approved by Judge Perri of the Superior Court; we anticipate a Fairness Hearing in December,” said Clark.

The 895 units was calculated from Judge Mary Jacobson of Mercer County’s “fair share methodology,” established earlier this year to “determine the state-wide affordable housing fair share obligation, and the Region 4 fair share obligation, which includes Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties,” as stated in the June 12 resolution.

An interview with Clark back in June confirmed that the 895 units are about 400 fewer than what the Fair Share Housing Center anticipated for Howell Township.

“Because Howell has been proactive over the years in adding affordable housing units, many of the 895 have either already been built or are part of currently approved projects, which lowers the number of units remaining to be built,” stated Clark back in June.

These five resolutions authorize agreements with developers; however these projects are not yet set in stone. The township’s plan still awaits approval in Superior Court. Residents can expect a Fairness Hearing sometime in December to approve or deny the plan.
These projects would go towards fulfilling the township’s third round affordable housing obligation period which extends from 1999-2025.