The courts have ruled that it is not “realistic” for a town’s Affordable Housing plan to only have Affordable Housing units, as there are not sufficient tax credits and other public monies to exclusively build 100% Affordable Housing. In one nearby community, where planners wanted to build two small, 100% Affordable Housing developments, a judge required the municipality and its taxpayers to bond upfront for the full cost of these projects, resulting in a financial obligation of almost $40 million.
The average cost to construct one Affordable unit in New Jersey is currently $250,000 to $300,000, so building 100% Affordable Housing units would have resulted in a taxpayer bill for $150 to 200 million in Hopewell Township. For perspective, our current total tax levy, including schools, is just over $100 million. This would have resulted in an unbearable tax burden for our residents.
Now that the Township has met its constitutional mandate to provide a realistic opportunity for Affordable Housing, if construction begins builders would be responsible for financing and building all of the Affordable Housing in Hopewell Township using the plan approved by the court. They will be responsible for the full cost of building these units, including the monies needed to extend sewer and water infrastructure to each site.
The current Township Committee also believe that building inclusive developments will help better integrate these units within our community and that this approach is a better overall solution. This is supported by the decisions of every Township Committee going back at least to 2012 when the Zaitz property was purchased. In Brandon Farms, market rate and affordable units co-exist side-by-side and one can’t tell the difference.