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A Statement from City Council Regarding Affordable Housing 4/29/20
The affordable housing ordinances scheduled for public hearing in April 2020 are the culmination of a multi-year process that was performed in coordination with the Asbury Park Planning Board, the Asbury Park Affordable Housing Coalition, and the Fair Share Housing Center. By way of background, it had become evident with Asbury Park’s rebirth over the last two decades that long-time residents were becoming priced out of the City. As City Council, we have made it one of our utmost priorities to remedy what was becoming an affordability issue for many residents and began the process of ensuring the provision of affordable housing in the City.
The process started with the Planning Board’s preparation and adoption of a new Master Plan and Re-examination Report, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:55D-89. The updated Master Plan was adopted in December 2017 and includes several affordable housing objectives that started the process we are currently conducting. Relevant Housing Objectives and Recommendations from the Reexamination Report include, but are not limited to: “Fully integrate affordable housing throughout the City both within projects and geographically throughout Asbury Park”, “Identify inclusionary zoning opportunities”, and “Adopt a housing element and fair share plan”. These objectives and recommendations, as well as the others throughout the Master Plan document, were based on input received and subject to 5 stakeholder meetings and 2 public community input meetings, as well as a public hearing at the Planning Board level.
The Planning Board implemented the Housing objectives and recommendations beginning in 2018 with preparation of a Housing Plan (formally referred to as the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan). The Housing Plan was later adopted by the Planning Board in February 2019. Included in the adopted Housing Plan are specific recommendations for preparation of each of the affordable housing ordinances that is being considered by the Council this month. The Housing Plan was prepared with the guidance of a subcommittee composed of Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn, Councilperson Yvonne Clayton, former City Manager Michael Capabianco, Director of Planning and Redevelopment Michele Alonso, and Director of Community Development Cassandra Dickerson. Additionally, the Housing Plan was prepared with significant input from the Asbury Park Affordable Housing Coalition, whose members include but may not be limited to Felicia Simmons, Tracy Rogers, Derek Minno Bloom, and Randi Moore, along with representatives of the Fair Share Housing Center. Meetings related to the preparation of the Housing Plan, involving the Subcommittee, the Asbury Park Affordable Housing Coalition, the Fair Share Housing Center, the Planning Board and/or the City Council, were held on at least nine (9) separate dates, including the following:
After the Housing Plan was adopted, and at the urging of the Asbury Park Affordable Housing Coalition and the Fair Share Housing Center, the City began the process of developing ordinances to implement the goals and objectives set forth in the Housing Plan by issuing an RFQ to seek a consultant to assist the City with the preparation of the implementing ordinances. Once the consultant was selected, the City convened a new Subcommittee to provide guidance as to the preparation of the implementing ordinances. This Subcommittee included Director of Community Development Cassandra Dickerson, Principal Planner Mark Segal, City Attorney Fred Raffetto, City Manager Donna Vieiro, Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn, Councilperson Yvonne Clayton, Director of Planning and Redevelopment Michele Alonso, and Affordable Housing Planner/Consultant Beth McManus.
Similar to the preparation of the Housing Plan, the ordinance preparation process was subject to significant input from the Asbury Park Affordable Housing Coalition and the Fair Share Housing Center. At least ten (10) meetings in furtherance of this process occurred with the Subcommittee, the Asbury Park Affordable Housing Coalition, the Fair Share Housing Center, the Planning Board and/or the City Council. Those meetings occurred on the following dates:
In addition to the meetings, Fair Share Housing Center issued 3 sets of comments on the draft ordinances during the ordinance preparation process. These comments were supportive of the City’s efforts to use zoning to incentivize affordable housing and included constructive criticisms relating to several of the ordinances in an attempt to make their provisions even stronger. The ordinances for consideration in April have addressed nearly all of Fair Share’s comments.
It is important to note that adoption of the ordinances at this time, during the COVID-19 public health crisis, remains important and has been advanced at the strong request of the Affordable Housing Coalition and the Fair Share Housing Center.
For questions, contact Director of Planning and Redevelopment Michele Alonsoat 732-502-5711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.