MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Last week the Middletown Township Committee directed its attorneys to withdraw from court proceedings that commenced in July 2015 to address unrealistic affordable housing obligations imposed upon municipalities throughout New Jersey by the Supreme Court. On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, the Township Attorney applied for an Order of Dismissal, which was entered by the Hon. Jamie S. Perri on July 19, 2019.
As a result of the demise of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”), municipalities have been subjected to proceedings in Superior Court to address ongoing and ever-increasing demands by the Fair Share Housing Center (“FSHC”) to develop more high density affordable housing.
“Middletown has always abided by the rules set forth at the time, but whatever we do never seems to be enough,” said Mayor Tony Perry. “We have a strong track record of creating realistic opportunities for affordable housing but refuse to be held hostage by special interest groups.”
Middletown is one of only a small number of municipalities in New Jersey to achieve substantive certification from COAH before the Supreme Court reshuffled the deck again. Since 2008, 350 new affordable housing units have been issued certificates of occupancy, representing 31% of the 1,119 total residential units issued certificates of occupancy since that time.
Since 1999 the Township has created over 600 affordable units. This includes a variety of housing types, including condominiums, detached single-family homes, rental apartments, senior housing and accessory apartments. At least four more properties in the Township are zoned for affordable housing. The Township anticipates that these projects will result in more than 100 additional affordable housing units. All of this affordable housing exists in addition to more than 400 affordable units of housing administrated by Middletown’s various housing authorities which the Township gets no credit for.
Middletown is in the 45th year of its Community Development Block Grant (“CDBG”) program, through which the Township has rehabilitated more than 600 housing units occupied by low and moderate income households. “We have always been a very economically-diverse township, with an equally diverse housing stock,” said Mayor Perry. “We have never turned our backs on lower income families and those in need of housing assistance.” The Township also provides financial assistance to first-time home buyers and rental assistance for renters seeking to move into affordable housing units.
“The FSHC is nothing more than an agent of the builder’s lobby trying to impose entirely unreasonable development standards and densities upon suburban communities,” said Deputy Mayor Fiore. “They have little regard for the environment and even less regard for property taxpayers.”
“We can no longer participate in this egregiously unfair process,” said Mayor Perry. “We are hopeful that the Legislature steps up to the plate and does its job to create sensible housing regulations that get this process out of the courts.”