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Oceanport Pushing For Lower Affordable Housing Obligation For Fort Monmouth

OCEANPORT: Borough Council is pushing for a 10 percent affordable housing requirement for residential units in Fort Monmouth, where the Council On Affordable Housing (COAH) obligation is 20 percent.

That percentage is unreasonable, said Oceanport Councilman Joe Irace, the main proponent of a council resolution hoping for a change to 10 percent.

“Previous legislation carves out Fort Monmouth as a separate entity, and while the rest of the state adheres to 10 percent, Fort Monmouth is burdened with 20 percent,” Irace said. “Perhaps we can have this changed to conform with the rest of the state.”

Irace said he spoke with local legislators, such as Declan O’Scanlon and Jennifer Beck, to gain support for a change. The council’s resolution calls on 11th and 13th District legislators to draft changes to COAH quota legislation.

Current affordable housing requirements outside of Fort Monmouth are 10 percent, and borough officials said that’s what should be held to properties inside the Fort.

However, Fort Monmouth is considered a special regional planning district, and the COAH quotas for those areas the state Department of Community Affairs designates as those districts are bumped to 20 percent.

The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) Executive Director Bruce Steadman said previously that he does not anticipate a change in Fort Monmouth’s affordable housing commitment. Deputy Attorney General Gabe Chacon, who advises the FMERA board, said the 20 percent affordable housing obligation is a statutory obligation FMERA must abide by for its residential projects.

“Until that statute changes, the 20 percent remains for Fort Monmouth,” Chacon said.

The Oceanport resolution asks for a change in that statute. Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon, also a member of the FMERA board, asked the council resolution be forwarded to the other municipalities that Fort Monmouth lies within: Tinton Falls and Eatontown.

Fort Monmouth properties are being sold off to developers, including former housing at the site to be redeveloped as apartments. For example, developer RPM is planned to convert officers housing. RPM's proposal calls for 68 market-rate, for-sale units north of the Parade Ground (the North Post) and 48 rental units south of the Parade Ground (the South Post).

The South Post units are proposed to be a mix of market-rate rental units and affordable rentals that will meet the project's required 20 percent affordable housing obligation.


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