Absecon is working to identify areas that could be used for affordable-housing units.
Council formed a special committee earlier this year to identify the potential areas and now the city’s Planning Board will review it soon, said Council president Jerry Falivene.
“The idea is to spread them around town,” he said, to minimize impact. “We don’t want to build (one) structure that’s 100 percent affordable.”
The city is developing a housing element and fair share plan years after a series of court decisions first required towns to include low- and middle-income families in their residential planning under the state’s Council on Affordable Housing.
Absecon was required to develop a plan to allow for the building of affordable homes, but the city had decided to wait because the law was constantly a target of lawsuits and could have changed, said Administrator Terry Dolan. Gov. Chris Christie had sought to abolish the council last year but a state Appellate Court decision in March determined that would not be permitted.
Dolan said the city had worked on the plan in 2007 and 2009 but decided to wait so it wouldn’t have to do it twice.
Falivene said the council has hired a planner and attorney to help craft the plan.
The council president said 28 percent of the city’s residents qualify for affordable housing. The city is currently surveying housing complexes to determine what could qualify as affordable housing and determine how much more would be needed.
“I’m confident some places will qualify,” he said.
Absecon’s shortage of affordable housing was previously considered by city’s Zoning Board: They have heard an application over the past three months to eliminate the senior housing designation of Visions at the Shore on Pitney Road. The proposal to build 400 new units includes 60 affordable homes.
Jack Plackter, attorney for Amboy Bank which owns Visions, filed a developer’s remedy lawsuit against the city in April because it did not have an affordable housing plan.
The lawsuit allows builders to build a higher density project than would otherwise be allowed if it has a substantial portion of affordable homes.
Falivene said Absecon filed a motion in Superior Court to block developer’s remedy lawsuits while it crafts its affordable housing plan.
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