The news is good, and may it get better. That’s the word from the attorney representing Bayonne in its quest to meet its affordable housing requirement.
The New Jersey Superior Court judge reviewing Bayonne’s plan on affordable housing has granted the city a five-month immunity, until Dec. 8, from any lawsuits stemming from those obligations, according to John Inglesino, the redevelopment and land use counsel for Bayonne. The attorney works for Inglesino, Webster, Wyciskala & Taylor of Parsippany.
The five-month reprieve allows Bayonne to further develop its strategies.
Also helpful to the city is that Bayonne does not have a “prospective need obligation,” meaning it does not have to adhere at this time to state laws that designate one new affordable housing unit for every four market-rate ones that are built.
Since Bayonne is designated an “urban aid-eligible municipality,” it will likely meet its affordable unit requirements by rehabilitating existing apartments, according to Inglesino.
“Bayonne has been rehabbing units on a consistent basis anyway, so we feel Bayonne is in really good shape to meet its obligations,” Inglesino said.
Inglesino said the city should be responsible for about 630 affordable housing units, but may have a credit of about 400 units due to past rehabilitation efforts.
“Bayonne has a tremendous amount of rehabilitation units. With new units, we won’t have to do a whole lot,” confirmed Corporation Counsel Jay Coffey. “As new developments get built, we’ll have much less in requirements in having to set aside new units.”
And even when Bayonne has an exact number it must meet, it has until 2025 to fully comply.
Between now and Dec. 8, Inglesino will be working with Brian Slaugh of Clarke Caton Hintz of Trenton, Bayonne’s architectural planning firm, to create a new housing element and fair share plan for submission to the court.
“… We feel Bayonne is in really good shape to meet its obligations.” – John Inglesino
“The thing for us to do now is to show how Bayonne can satisfy its rehab obligations,” Inglesino said. “There are a lot of different ways to do that.”
Since Bayonne has a good track record of rehabilitating existing units to make them affordable housing eligible, Inglesino is confident the city can continue down that path.
“At some point in the not-too-distant future, we’ll have to figure out what Bayonne’s rehabilitation obligation is,” Inglesino said. “If we can’t work it out with the interested parties, then the judge will decide.”
He said it is too early to tell if the city’s process would become contentious.
But he said that compared to the many other towns going through the affordable-unit process, “Bayonne is in really good shape.”
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.To comment on this story online visit www.hudsonreporter.com.