We are happy to report that the Town has entered into a settlement agreement with Fair Share Housing Center (fairsharehousing.org) to define our obligations with respect to affordable housing and the mechanisms by which the Town will meet those obligations.
As was reported in a past newsletter, Fair Share Housing Center is legally challenging every municipality throughout the State to increase the availability of affordable housing. While we recognize the need, affordable housing obligations cannot come at an enormous financial cost or at the expense of our community identity, unreasonable population growth, and other important factors. Thank you to our Town attorney Dorsey & Semrau - Fred Semrau, Town planner H2M – Jeff Janota, and affordable housing planning firm, Burgis & Associates - Joe Burgis for your expertise. Thank you for representing Boonton’s tax payers to protect them from future litigation (through 2025), avoiding an unreasonable housing obligation that would change small-town Boonton, and for helping us do our part to create affordable housing opportunities for those in need. More details will be forthcoming once the settlement agreement and affordable housing plan are finalized and approved by Judge Nergaard, the Morris County judge hearing Boonton's case.
TOWN OF BOONTON
NOTICE OF FAIRNESS AND PRELIMINARY COMPLIANCE HEARING FOR THE TOWN OF BOONTON, COUNTY OF MORRIS, REGARDING A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RELATED TO THE TOWN’S OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO LOW- AND MODERATE-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS
DOCKET NO.: MRS-L-1636-15
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that on May 4, 2018, beginning at 10 a.m., there will be a Fairness and Preliminary Compliance Hearing (“Hearing”) before the Honorable Maryann L. Nergaard, J.S.C. at the Morris County Courthouse, Washington & Court Streets, 5th Floor, Courtroom #17, Morristown, New Jersey 07963.
The purpose of the Hearing is for the Court to consider whether the terms of a settlement agreement (“Settlement Agreement”) between the Town of Boonton (“Town”) and Fair Share Housing Center (“FSHC”) will meet the Town’s obligation to provide a realistic opportunity to satisfy the Town’s rehabilitation, Prior Round, and Third Round “fair share” of the regional need for affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households pursuant the Mount Laurel decisions and their progeny, the Fair Housing Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-301, et seq., the substantive, applicable regulations of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”), the New Jersey Supreme Court’s March 10, 2015 decision in In re N.J.A.C. 5:96 & N.J.A.C. 5:97, 221 N.J. 1 (2015), and other applicable laws.
The Settlement Agreement fully addresses the existing components of the Town’s affordable housing obligations for the period 1987-2025, including the Town’s Present Need Obligation (or rehabilitation obligation) of 25 units, its Prior Round obligation of 11 housing units, and its Third Round new construction obligation of 261 units. The proposed Settlement Agreement provides a detailed list of the Town’s total affordable housing obligation and compliance mechanisms demonstrating the Town’s compliance with those affordable housing obligations. The full text of the Settlement Agreement is available for public inspection and/or photocopying (at requestor’s expense) during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office located at Town Hall, 100 Washington Street, Boonton, NJ 07005 and is posted on the Town’s website at www.boonton.org.
On the date of the Hearing, the Court will conduct a Fairness Hearing to determine whether the Settlement Agreement is fair to low- and moderate-income households and creates a realistic opportunity for satisfaction of the Town’s affordable housing obligations. The Town will seek a Judgment of Compliance and Repose formally approving the Settlement Agreement, subject to appropriate conditions, if any, that may be imposed by the Court, which Judgment of Compliance and Repose will entitle the Town to protection from any Mount Laurel builder’s remedy lawsuits for a period to be determined by the Court.
Any interested person may seek to appear and be heard at the May 4, 2018 Hearing on the Settlement Agreement and shall have the opportunity to present any position on the Settlement Agreement. Objections or comments by any interested person must be filed with the Honorable Maryann L. Nergaard, J.S.C., Morris County Courthouse, Washington & Court Streets, 5th Floor, Morristown, New Jersey 07963 on or before April 20, 2018, with duplicate copies forwarded by mail and email to the attention of the following:
Susan C. Sharpe, Esq.
Dorsey & Semrau, LLC
714 Main Street
P.O. Box 228
Boonton, NJ 07005
Joshua D. Bauers, Esq.
Fair Share Housing Center
510 Park Boulevard
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Joseph H. Burgis, PP, AICP
Burgis Associates, Inc.
25 Westwood Avenue
Westwood, NJ 07675
This Notice is provided pursuant to directive of the Court and is intended to inform interested parties of the proposed Settlement Agreement and inform such parties that they are able to comment on the Settlement Agreement before the Court reviews and evaluates whether to approve the Settlement Agreement. This Notice does not indicate any view by the Court as to the fairness, reasonableness, or adequacy of the Settlement Agreement or whether the Court will approve the Settlement Agreement.
Cindy Oravits, Town Clerk
Town of Boonton