In 2008, when COAH was still functioning, Montvale’s affordable housing obligation, as calculated by COAH, was:
Rehabilitation – 5 units
Round Two – 255 units (adjusted to 188 due to a vacant land adjustment)
Round Three – 265 units (2008-2018)
Since the Supreme Court decision in 2015, numerous new sets of numbers for affordable housing have been promulgated for every town in the State of New Jersey. The Fair Share Housing Center (“FSHC”), a group that advocates for the construction of affordable units and who is also an intervening party in the Borough’s pending Declaratory Judgment action, has determined that Montvale has an obligation of 586 units for the Round Three, which they calculate to include the 15-year “Gap” period from 1999 through 2014, as well as the 10-year “prospective” period of 2015-2025. Econsult, who represents the municipalities, calculated the Borough’s Round Three obligation to be 349 units (2015-2025), and has taken the position that there is no “Gap” period obligation. There is also a third set of numbers being developed by Richard Reading, who has been appointed as a “Numbers Master” for multiple counties (although not yet Bergen). The battle over whose numbers will be accepted by the courts is presently being fought before both the Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court and maybe resolved in mid- to late-2017.
In addition, the issue of whether a “Gap” obligation exists was recently argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court. Based on the opinions expressed by the Justices during oral argument, however, municipal representatives have generally been pessimistic about the outcome. Inclusion of a “Gap” period obligation could add approximately 25%-35% to the numbers developed by Econsult and Reading.
It should be noted that these obligations cited above are for affordable units only. Based upon an 80%/20% market/affordable ratio for inclusionary development, as the Borough typically insists on for affordable housing inclusionary development, these numbers could mean that the Borough would have to zone for the creation of between 1,745 and 2,930 more total units in the community in a best case scenario. If the ratio was instead 85%/15% (which is more typical statewide), the range could be between 2,327 and 3,907 units, if all of the units were constructed as part of inclusionary developments. This is the primary reason why the Borough is being pro-active in seeking proposals from developers that will have the smallest overall impact on the Borough, through higher affordable set-asides, 100% affordable developments, group homes, and other compliance mechanisms that will hopefully limit the number of market-rate units that will need to be approved to satisfy the Borough’s obligation.