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March 6, 2012

LEGISLATIVE ALERT

Re:

I.  Permit Extension bill advances in Senate

II. “New Jersey Residential Transformation Act” advances in Assembly

Dear Mayor:

I. Permit Extension bill advances in Senate

Yesterday, the Senate Economic Growth Committee considered and released, without recommendation, S-743 which would extend and expand the Permit Extension Act of 2008 for an additional 24 months, until December 31, 2014.    Further, this legislation expands the current areas in the State covered by the Act.      The bill, however, was not advanced to the full Senate, but instead second referenced to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration. 

The League, joined by Clinton Town Mayor Janice Kovach and Bedminster Mayor Robert Holtaway, testified in opposition to the bill based on the expansion of the law.    Specifically, the bill would create the definition of “extension area” to expand the implementation of the Act to include Planning Area 3 (PA3) and Planning Area 4A (PA4A) and the entire planning area in the Highlands.   

While the Committee released the bill, it was acknowledged that further amendments would be needed to address issues related to the bill, and it was second referenced to the Senate Budget committee.  It is not known when that Committee will consider the bill. Meanwhile, the Assembly companion, A-1338,  could be scheduled for a vote by the full Assembly on March 15.

We thank Mayors Kovach and Holtaway for their testimony yesterday.     More information on these bills can be found in the League’s Dear Mayor letters of March 2, and January 31

II. “New Jersey Residential Transformation Act” advances in Assembly
On Monday, the Assembly Housing and Local Government approved A-2168, the “New Jersey Residential Transformation Act.”     This bill would establish a statewide program to transition foreclosed property into affordable housing.    Under the bill, a new corporation would be created under the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) to use funds from the State Affordable Housing Trust Fund to purchase and deed-restrict foreclosed properties to be used as affordable housing.  The corporation would expire at the end 2017.

Under the program, a municipality will be given the right of first refusal to purchase a foreclosed home using its trust fund dollars.   Such a house that is then deed-restricted as part of the municipality’s affordable housing inventory would result in a 2-for-1 credit towards the municipality’s affordable housing obligation.   If the municipality declines to purchase the home, it can still qualify for the credits if it authorizes, by resolution, the state corporation to use the municipality’s trust fund dollars to purchase an eligible property, which is then converted to affordable housing.

Under both circumstances, the use of the municipal trust fund dollars is done with the consent of the municipality.  This was achieved by an amendment requested by the League.    For this reason, the League testified in support of this voluntary legislation, which provides an option for municipalities to expend their trust fund dollars with certainty that the units and credits will count towards its housing obligations, whenever such obligations are finally determined.

The Senate companion, S-1566, is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Budget and Appropriations committee on Thursday.     We anticipate that both the Senate and Assembly bills will be scheduled for floor votes on March 15.   More information on this is available from our February 17 Dear Mayor letter. 

Questions on this letter or on these bills can be directed to Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x120.  

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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