March 12, 2009
Re: Age Restricted Housing Conversion Bill—A-3772 & S-2577
Companion bills, which allow for the change of a proposed age-restricted development to market units without age restrictions, are poised for votes in both Houses of the State Legislature. We previously wrote to you on these bills (please see our Dear Mayor letters of February 23 and March 5) and outlined the reasons for the League’s opposition.
The legislation states that up to 20% of the market rate units can be set aside as part of a municipality’s fair share plan and the converted development itself does not trigger an obligation. The legislation further states that this option is available to developers for two years after the effective date of the bill.
There have been significant amendments to the bills. The original Section 11 of the bill, which allowed for a developer to appeal a local board’s denial to the State’s “Smart Growth Ombudsman,” was removed entirely at the urging of the League. Please see our Dear Mayor letter of March 5 for a synopsis of the significant amendments.
While the amendments may temper opposition to the bill, it fundamentally runs contrary to the MLUL and thirty years of case law supporting it, and undermines the discretion of local land use boards and governing bodies. Any developer seeking a conversion can make that request now, under the existing provisions of the MLUL. It would be preferable for the Legislature to instead provide incentives to local governments under the existing provisions of the MLUL instead of diminishing the discretion of local boards and local governments, whose charge is to defend the interests of the public, even if it is “only” for a two year period.
We advise contacting your Legislators with your concerns on these bills. For more information on this bill contact Mike Cerra at email@example.com or 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.