As a result of the Court Settlement, Hopewell Township has met its obligation to provide affordable housing in that the Court agreed the Township has provided a “realistic opportunity” for the intervenors to build it.
That said, there are many more steps the intervenors must take before any shovels hit the dirt, including an extended site plan review and permitting process (all open to the public).
It’s important to note that Hopewell Township’s obligation is only to provide a “realistic opportunity” for these units to be built. If there is not sufficient market demand for this many units to be built or if there is another real estate crash, these units will not be built. Similarly, if the financial cost of building all of the new water, sewer and other infrastructure to support the development is too high, the Township is not obligated to assist the developers. Again, the units will not be built if a project proves to be economically infeasible.
With all of the required environmental, traffic and water studies, the planning and permitting process is expected to take 18 to 24 months once initial plans are submitted. Additionally, the construction of new water and sewer infrastructure to these sites could further delay building. In addition to the requirements of site plans and planning and zoning board approvals, builders may have issues with DEP, DOT, DVRPC and other State agencies. Brandon Farms took 15 years to build. These projects could easily take more. Hopewell Township’s court ruling anticipates a significant portion of any construction may occur after 2025.
And since we are talking about timing, please note that the affordable and market units on any given tract need to be built concurrently. The market rate units may not reach 50% completion until the affordable units also reach 50% completion. The market rate units may not reach 90% completion until the affordable units are 100% complete.