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TRENTON, NJ-Earlier rules called for 52,000 new affordable housing units in New Jersey over the next decade, and Gov. Jon Corzine later upped the ante with his call for 100,000 over the same period. That number has just been further increased with the issuance, this week, of new rules by the Council on Affordable Housing, an affiliate of the state’s Department of Community Affairs.

The new number is now 115,000 new affordable units by 2018. After several legal challenges to previous rules, and deadline extensions that have stretched over several years, COAH unveiled its latest proposal at its board meeting this week. The rules still face public hearings before they’re fully in force.

“COAH had many meetings with all interested stakeholders on this issue, from housing advocates and municipalities to the building community,” says Joseph Doria, acting commissioner of the DCA. “Their participation was vital, and without their input we could not have crafted these rules that will create more affordable housing in the state.”

If they’re finalized as proposed, the rules would require developers to create one affordable unit among every five they build, and one affordable unit for every 16 jobs. The previous ratios mandated by COAH were one among nine, and one for every 25 jobs. Age-restricted units would be limited to 25% of all affordable homes.

The latest proposal also raises the cost of regional contribution agreements from the previous $35,000 per unit to between $67,000 and $80,000 per unit, depending on the region of the state. RCAs are a tool in which wealthier communities pay the less-wealthy towns to take their affordable housing obligations.

The proposal also sets payment-in-lieu standards that average $161,000 per affordable unit. And development fees for new construction would be increased from the previous 1% of equalized assessed value for residential to 1.5%, and from 2% of EAV to 3% for non-residential.

Public hearings will be held in January and February, with dates and locations to be announced.

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