New affordable housing rules for towns considered in N.J.

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New Jersey legislative leaders are discussing whether to consider new rules for towns to meet their affordable housing obligations.

Enforcement of those requirements shifted to the courts last year after the Council on Affordable Housing failed to implement guidelines on how many homes towns should make available for low-and-moderate income residents.

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says he’s considering a plan that would allow towns to shift some of their affordable housing obligation to a nearby community.

“You take it all and send it away. No, that’s not good. Everybody needs affordable housing. You send that portion to some of those areas that have existing housing stock that could be revitalized and then put those people in there.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney says he’s reluctant to support such a plan because in the past money in some of those sharing arrangements ended up being used for other purposes instead of building affordable housing units.

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr said towns are concerned about the impact new legislation would have.

“300 of our 565 towns are in the courts and spending a tremendous amount of money on planners and attorneys. When we do get our declaratory judgments, we don’t want something that happens here in Trenton to really pull the rug out from under us.”

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