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Affordable Housing in Rumson: 2023 Update

Currently, there are several affordable residential construction projects underway in our community. The projects are a requirement of an Order entered by the Court in June 2021. The Borough’s responsibility to address its Affordable Housing obligation comes from the 1975 Mount Laurel I Supreme Court case, which ruled that every municipality has a constitutional obligation to provide its fair share of affordable housing.

In 2015, the NJ Supreme Court issued its Mount Laurel IV decision that transferred control of NJ affordable housing oversight and plan approval from the State agency known as the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to the NJ Superior Court. The Court determined how many affordable units each NJ community would be obligated to address in their Affordable Housing Plan. For Rumson, our affordable housing obligation was determined to be 603 new affordable residential units. The June 2021 settlement resulted in Rumson having a requirement to create the realistic opportunity for the construction of 51 affordable housing units and resulting in 552 affordable housing units of unmet need.

To manage future development and to address its affordable housing obligation, the Borough adopted a Housing Element and Fair Share Plan (HEFSP) in 2020. The Borough received Court approval of the HEFSP in June 2021, which provides immunity from future “builder’s remedy” lawsuits until July 2025.

In a “builder’s remedy” lawsuit, the developer files a complaint with the Superior Court indicating that a municipality has not created a realistic opportunity for affordable housing and seeks to work directly with the court to determine the location and the type of affordable housing to be built. If a "builder’s remedy" lawsuit is successful, the Borough may lose zoning control and runs the risk of having little input regarding the overall development of the Borough.

The summary below illustrates the Borough’s efforts to meet its affordable housing obligation to date. In most cases, the Borough is partnering with nonprofit organizations that help fund, construct and administer the projects.

§ The Borough Council appointed an Affordable Housing Committee in 2021. This Committee meets a few times a year to discuss general affordable housing topics and opportunities in our Borough.

§ The Borough purchased an existing single-family detached dwelling in 2021 containing two bedrooms, renovated the dwelling and sold the dwelling in 2022 to a verified moderate income family.

§ Also, in 2021 the Borough purchased a property that will be the site for a new two-family dwelling, each containing three bedrooms, which will begin construction in the fall 2023. This project will be partially funded by the NJ Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

§ In 2022, the Borough purchased and renovated a property containing an existing single-family detached dwelling containing three bedrooms. The unit has been rented to a moderate income family.

§ The Borough is working to construct a dwelling unit on Borough owned property that will contain four bedrooms for individuals with special needs. It is anticipated construction will begin on the dwelling in early 2024. This project will be partially funded by the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA).

§ The Carton Street property was contributed to the Borough by a developer in lieu of a portion of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund payment. A small age restricted affordable rental project is planned and construction is anticipated to begin in late 2024.

§ The Borough bonded for and just completed the purchase of the vacant Bank of America property located at 49 West River Road, which will become the location of a small affordable rental development project.

§ The Borough is continuing its Market to Affordable Program. This program provides a Borough subsidy to owners of existing dwellings that are interested in selling their properties at or below market rate prices to make the dwellings affordable to low- and moderate-income families. Given the current real estate market conditions, there are few opportunities to purchase dwellings for this program. The Borough will continue to monitor the market in search of dwellings to increase Rumson's affordable housing inventory.

In addition to the Affordable Housing Plan outlined above, the Borough will also provide funding for the creation of accessory apartments that are available to low- and moderate-income families. The Borough operates a rehabilitation program for low- and moderate-income families that own or rent dwellings that require certain repairs and rehabilitation. If you are interested in participating in these programs, please contact Borough Hall for more information.

The Borough anticipates the construction of over 20 dwellings prior to July 2025 to meet our affordable housing obligation. The Borough appreciates the support of our residents in making Rumson a more inclusionary community. If you have any questions, we would be happy to meet with you.

Mayor and Council

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