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379 South Branch Road
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

379 South Branch Road
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Hillsborough Township’s Negotiations Mitigate Affordable Housing Impact

Hillsborough Township 379 South  Branch Road

Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Phone (908) 369-4313

Fax (908) 369-6034

News Release

Contact:  Mayor Doug Tomson FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Phone:    908-369-3535 April 14, 2020

Hillsborough Township’s Negotiations Mitigate 

Affordable Housing Impact 

Hillsborough Township announced that it has reached a settlement with Fair Share Housing regarding its state mandated Affordable Housing obligations.  The settlement will result in Hillsborough Township having only to build an additional 195 affordable housing units, beyond what has already been approved.  This result stems from the Township’s ongoing negotiations with Fair Share Housing to minimize the  impact of the mandate as Hillsborough Township was the final municipality in the Vicinage to settle with Fair Share Housing, out of the 55 filing municipalities. 

“Throughout the process, the Township's underlying theme was to minimize the obligation while addressing the responsibilities that the State of New Jersey has mandated upon us as to  affordable housing,” stated Mayor Doug Tomson.

“This unfunded mandate without diligent negotiations on behalf of Hillsborough Township would have led to further exacerbation of school overcrowding and residential development on our open space.  I call upon the Governor and the State Legislature to address affordable housing,” added Mayor Tomson.

Hillsborough Township’s final number is lower than municipalities of comparable size in Somerset County as a result of the Township’s diligent efforts working with the Court’s Special Master, Fair Share Housing Center and various interveners.  

“The Township has been working with many interveners and Fair Share Housing throughout this arduous  process,” commented Special Counsel on Affordable Housing, Eric Bernstein, Esq.

One of the strategic moves that the Township employed while negotiating with developers was to require sites to provide a 24% affordable obligation versus the 10-20% requirement being utilized by most other municipalities.  This meant that developers would be required to set aside  24% of their housing units to be allocated to the Township’s affordable housing obligation instead of only 10-20%, which would have resulted in more market rate and overall residential housing development having to be built to meet the affordable obligation.  

Most recently, the Township has taken several steps in protecting the community and preserving the bucolic atmosphere which has been so attractive to residents and newcomers and yielded the Township many accolades over the past number of years including being named to “One of the Best Places to Live in America” on numerous occasions.  

One of the many examples where Hillsborough has been creative in their approach to preserving the community, was in 2018, through a joint purchase agreement with the Somerset County Improvement Authority, Hillsborough Township purchased 335 acres of property, contiguous to both Ann Van Middlesworth Park and Mountain View Park.  Through this strategic purchase, nearly 2,000 residential homes were prevented from being built, which in turn also reduced the Township’s affordable obligation by at least 400 units.  

The Township’s strategy did not end with land preservation in mitigating the number of affordable units.  Through a relationship with Premier Development and Midland School the Township continues the development of housing for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), (“supportive needs”). The Township was therefore not only able to assist in providing such needed housing, but also obtained additional credits towards their affordable housing obligation.  

“Throughout the State of New Jersey, there continues to be a tremendous need for quality housing for adults with I/DD.  Many of these individuals reside at home with their aging parents on a waiting list that stretches into the thousands.  Parents are desperately seeking a solution that will afford them some sense of confidence and security that will stand the test of time,” stated Shawn McInerney, President and CEO of Midland School.

“Premier Development is very pleased to work in partnership with Midland Adult Services to provide high quality new housing for the adult clients they serve.  We have teamed up with Midland to develop this concept. These new homes we will build for Midland will be a part of a new larger residential community in Hillsborough. This will allow individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be truly integrated within the community.  Midland has an outstanding reputation and we are very excited to be partnering up with them to provide this great new opportunity for their clients in Hillsborough,” added Andy Nowack, Executive Vice President, Premier Development.

Another aspect of meeting the obligation was the development of age restricted communities within the Township, which also afford credits towards the final obligation number.  The creation of such communities provides housing for our senior citizen population, addresses affordable housing concerns within that community and lessens the impact of school aged children residing in the housing created.  

Finally, as a result of this negotiation, Hillsborough Township no longer has any unmet need remaining in terms of affordable housing obligations for the remainder of the period in question through June 2025.

The Township has been proactive in educating the residents of Hillsborough Township, understanding what the municipality was facing as to its affordable housing obligation.  For example, last year, then Mayor Frank DelCore held a Town Hall meeting on Affordable Housing, which included a panel of presenters to assist the public in understanding the complexities of the affordable housing mandates and their impacts. 

“We appreciate our residents' continued support and understanding throughout this long and arduous process while we continue to put the Township’s best interests first,” concluded Mayor Doug Tomson.