Montville Township Achieves Settlement on Affordable Housing Obligation


The Township negotiates down affordable housing obligation from 850 to 550 units to be addressed by 2025.

Montville Township, New Jersey has made significant strides in its efforts to reduce affordable housing, as mandated by the State's constitution. The township managed to reduce its affordable housing obligation from 850 to 550 units, to be addressed by 2025, reportedly to "preserve the character of the community" and avoid high-density development. 

This resolution involved complex legal and practical considerations, along with extensive negotiation processes. Montville had to maintain its local zoning rights, thus seeking compliance determination from the Superior Court of New Jersey. 

The journey of this compliance was no simple task, as it was influenced by various factors including the existing quantity of affordable housing, availability and suitability of land for new development, and the intervention of parties wishing to develop affordable and market-rate residential units. 

Due to Montville's desirability, four court intervenors and five prospective property owners showed interest in developing affordable housing projects.

Montville, originally set to develop 850 affordable units that could potentially result in up to 5,667 total units when considering market-rate residential units, significantly reduced this figure. In-depth negotiations enabled the reduction of the affordable housing obligation to 550 units, further eased by 138 bonus credits, reducing the actual units to be built to 412. 

High-density development sites, such as the former GI Auto site proposed for nearly 1,000 units by Avalon Bay, were reined in with the total units limited to 349, comprising 297 market-rate and 52 affordable units. Similar negotiations occurred at the Mill Creek site, leading to an agreement for 295 units, including 248 market-rate and 47 affordable units.

Furthermore, market-rate units mainly consist of one and two-bedroom units, targeted at starter families or those wishing to downsize. The remaining affordable units are anticipated to attract families with children looking for more affordable rental options.

The settlement also secured the extension of existing affordable controls on properties nearing their thirty-year deed restriction, allowing residents to maintain their homes while reducing the necessity for additional market-rate unit development. The settlement recognized 257 units of affordable housing that already existed or had approval, contributing to the 550-unit obligation.

The combined effect of these negotiations led to a requirement for 714 new units by 2025, a significant reduction from the potential 4,250 to 5,667 units. This outcome signifies a low-density solution when compared to some other communities in Morris County.

Crucially, the settlement ensures Montville Township's retention of local zoning rights, protecting the Township from pressures to rezone commercial property. It sets a compliant affordable housing plan in motion, facilitating a meticulous review of upcoming projects to avoid "overdevelopment" while still providing affordable housing opportunities.

Montville Township remains actively involved in litigation to extend affordable controls for existing residents.

"We will continue to advocate to maintain the quality of life in Montville Township by recognizing our Affordable Housing obligation, and at the same time, attempting to avoid over-development in our pristine Township." - The Township of Montville.

I'm interested (1)
I disagree with this
This is unverified