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Township Begins to Implement COAH Plan

The council introduces an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of land.

With the township’s submitted to the state and awaiting approval, the township council introduced an ordinance June 7 that will authorize the acquisition of land for possible affordable housing use in the future.

According to township administrator James Naples, this ordinance, and a resolution also approved by the council, is part of the plan to finalize agreements to show that the township is taking action on its plan.

“This is part of the process where we are finalizing agreements, entering escrow and taking administrative actions to show we have made commitments to our COAH funds prior to the July deadline,” he said.

The ordinance authorizes the acquisition of more than nine acres on East Main Street, at a cost of $1.5 million. This money will come from the township’s affordable housing trust fund.

“This is a parcel of land owned by the county that we will acquire for any potential future needs for affordable housing,” Naples said.

At this point, Naples said, there are no plans to build.

“This land is available,” he said.

Public hearing for the ordinance will be held June 18.

In addition, the council approved an agreement with Village at Bridgewater Inc. for a total of six very low income rental units in a current development on Griggs Drive.

Naples said this is also part of the COAH spending plan.

“We have sent for approval that this developer will build six very low income units in an existing development,” he said. “He has done an excellent job in the past incorporating affordable housing with market rate units.”

Basically, according to the agreement, the developer was already going to be building two low income rental units as part of the development on Griggs Drive.

In exchange for a grant agreement of $400,000 with the township, Naples said, he will build an additional four.

“Two he would have had to provide anyway, the other four he has agreed to as long as we subsidize them,” said township attorney William Savo.

Savo said a number of these ordinances and resolutions will be put before the council in the coming months.

“This is all subject to approval of the COAH plan from the state,” he said. “But there are a series of these ordinances coming of the transfer of housing funds to an escrow account.”

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