AVALON - As the state continues to debate how affordable housing requirements will change in New Jersey, the borough is beginning work on its own plan to meet the needs of a barrier island community.

Neil Hensel, chairman of Avalon's Planning and Zoning Board, said meeting the previous requirements laid out by the state's Council on Affordable Housing, or COAH, was difficult for the shore community.

"We don't have year-round employment, we don't have public transportation," Hensel said.

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The state-run agency had control over determining how much affordable housing needed to be available in certain communities. The state legislature is in the process of revising the rules to give municipalities more control.

"We're going to have a completely different set of rules, but we don't know when," Hensel said.

Avalon is not trying to absolve itself of affordable housing requirements, he said. Instead, Hensel said, the board is trying to justify housing for seasonal employees who need a place to live. A series of accessory apartments have been identified to serve that purpose.

The borough is looking into what amount it wants to set aside for affordable housing.

"We're showing them that this is what is reasonable for a barrier island," Hensel said.

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