Manchester Adopts Affordable Housing Rules

Manchester Town Hall (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

MANCHESTER – The Township adopted rules to fall in line with state guidelines on how affordable housing will be addressed.

Every town in New Jersey is required to provide for a certain number of affordable homes. The issue stems from a court case where the town of Mt. Laurel was accused of zoning the town in such a way that no low-income people could afford to live there. The state’s solution to this was to force every town to allow a certain number of affordable housing. That number fluctuated, based on several factors. Manchester was one of many towns that recently reached a settlement with the state on a set number of affordable housing.

Part of the settlement is to make sure that Manchester’s rules mirror the state’s regulations, Councilman Samuel Fusaro said. Thus, these ordinance changes needed to happen.

One ordinance changes land use in Manchester to bring the township up to date with what the state wants. It lists scores of definitions and details that Manchester had to adopt in order to be on the same page as the rest of New Jersey. The second reading of this ordinance is expected to happen at the Jan. 22 Township Council meeting.

Manchester is one of many municipalities that have adopted similar ordinances.

The details include how many units in any future development must be affordable. It also details the income level of a person that could afford these units.

The council also adopted the Affirmative Housing Marketing Plan, which they were required to do by the state, Fusaro said.

The plan sets rules on how to reach out to people in the region who are eligible for low income housing, so that they know that the units are available. Manchester, and the rest of Ocean County, is in the same housing region as Mercer and Monmouth counties.

According to the plan, all the costs associated with advertising would be paid by the developer or landlord, not the town. It lists the type of media outlets that can be used for advertising, and what information needs to be in the ad.

There are also plans on how to educate perspective buyers or renters on how to finance a home. The plan will continue to exist as long as there are affordable units available. If a new development is built, then a new plan would be needed.