The Fair Share Housing Center has released revised numbers for recommended affordable housing requirements for New Jersey municipalities that increase the obligation for the town of Princeton from 600 new affordable units to 1,000 new units because the prior calculations included a major error, ignoring consolidation.
David Kinsey, a Princeton resident who works with the Fair Share Housing Center, revised the fair share calculations for every municipality in New Jersey to incorporate the most current U.S. Census data for a factor used in the center’s model. The corrections all stem from U.S. Census data on the number of households in each municipality.
The new calculations of each municipality’s affordable housing obligations will be used by the Fair Share Housing Center in all court filings going forward related to litigation about affordable housing across the state.
About 68 percent of municipalities had no change in prospective need after the revisions were made, 28 percent of municipalities had changes (both increases and decreases) in prospective need of a few units, and 4 percent of municipalities had increases of between 4 and 10 units or decreases of between 4 and 16 units.
Princeton was the only municipality with a significant increase due to an error in the coding of the data for the town. The earlier calculations used only total occupied housing units data for the former Borough and did not include the relevant data
for the former Township, and thus erroneously showed Princeton’s obligation as subject to a cap of 20 percent of the total homes in the former Borough, and not the combined former Township and former Borough.
“As Princeton prepares its revised housing element and fair share plan for the consolidated municipality to address its Third Round
fair share housing obligations, the municipality may well be eligible for an adjustment of this obligation due to insufficient vacant land, as was the former Borough when its first housing element and fair share plan was reviewed and approved by the Court in 1990,” a Fair Share Housing Center representatives noted in an email about the changes. “The higher number may have limited practical impact.”
The corrections all concern data on total occupied housing units by municipality from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. In response to a public inquiry with the Fair Share Housing Center in late June, the group reviewed the data and discovered that instead of using the most recent U.S. Census data from 2009-2013, the group had erroneously used data from 2008-2012 and mislabeled the data as being from 2009-2013. The error regarding Princeton was caught when the data was reviewed.