Last Thursday Mayor Frank DelCore held a Town Hall Public Information Session regarding New Jersey State mandates relative to Affordable Housing. The purpose of the session was to assist the public in understanding the topic of affordable housing and its corresponding impact on municipalities. There was a panel of presenters with various expertise providing valuable information. These presenters included Mayor Frank DelCore, Deputy Mayor Doug Tomson, Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, Jennifer Beahm of Leon S. Avakian, LLC and Eric M. Bernstein of Bernstein and Associates, LLC, Township Administrator Anthony Ferrera, and Township Planner David Maski.
Approximately 50 residents attended Thursday night’s session to learn more about affordable housing and the impacts for Hillsborough. For those who were unable to attend, the video of the Town Hall is available on the Township’s You-Tube Channel. It can be accessed through the Township’s website at www.hillsborough-nj.org.
“Our goal was to bring this complex non-partisan issue to our residents for a further understanding of what Hillsborough and the State of New Jersey is facing,” stated Mayor Frank DelCore.
The Town Hall discussion focused on the current court process that Hillsborough is undertaking and the municipal plan in place to meet the anticipated obligations from Fair Share Housing. Mayor DelCore provided a comprehensive timeline for what has occurred with the process from the 1990s until present. Attorney Bernstein outlined results of previous decisions and Special Consultant Jennifer Beahm explained the credits calculations and what is considered acceptable in terms of affordable housing.
Guest speaker Assemblywoman Schepisi provided an extensive overview of how the process is implemented in Trenton and included a detailed explanation of the process’ complexity. She is a well regarded expert in Affordable Housing in the Assembly. She was the Borough of Oakland Public Defender 2012-14; Township of River Vale Attorney 2007-11; Borough of Old Tappan Alternate Prosecutor 2010-11; Borough of Westwood Alternate Prosecutor 2002-11. Assemblywoman Schepisi has introduced a number of bills to assist municipalities against the impact of Affordable Housing including:
- Shift the obligation from municipalities to the state (A1645/ACR80)
- Eliminate the builder’s remedy (A1650/ACR79)
- Determine available redevelopment areas (A1647)
- Ensure municipal zoning sovereignty (A1646)
- Determine if towns can afford new housing (A1648)
- Eliminate exclusions for urban aid municipalities (A1649)
- Base affordable housing requirements on current need (A3928)
- Pause affordable housing litigation to enact reform (A5137)
- Require an independent bi-partisan authority to determine housing obligations based on statewide need, not town-by-town basis (A4333)
- A constitutional amendment to require all affordable housing decisions to be made by the Legislature not the courts (ACR188)
“As we continue through this process and learn more information we will certainly arrange to host additional sessions if needed,” concluded Mayor DelCore.