I don’t object to the 653 Affordable Housing units we need to build, but why didn’t Hopewell Township move forward with 100% Affordable Housing across the Township?

The courts have ruled that it is not “realistic” for a town’s Affordable Housing plan to only have Affordable Housing units, as there are not sufficient tax credits and other public monies to exclusively build 100% Affordable Housing.  In one nearby community, where planners wanted to build two small, 100% Affordable Housing developments, a judge required the municipality and its taxpayers to bond upfront for the full cost of these projects, resulting in a financial obligation of almost $40 million.

The average cost to construct one Affordable unit in New Jersey is currently $250,000 to $300,000, so building 100% Affordable Housing units would have resulted in a taxpayer bill for $150 to 200 million in Hopewell Township.  For perspective, our current total tax levy, including schools, is just over $100 million.  This would have resulted in an unbearable tax burden for our residents. 

Now that the Township has met its constitutional mandate to provide a realistic opportunity for Affordable Housing, if construction begins builders would  be responsible for financing and building all of the Affordable Housing in Hopewell Township using the plan approved by the court. They will be responsible for the full cost of building these units, including the monies needed to extend sewer and water infrastructure to each site.

The current Township Committee also believe that building inclusive developments will help better integrate these units within our community and that this approach is a better overall solution. This is supported by the decisions of every Township Committee going back at least to 2012 when the Zaitz property was purchased.  In Brandon Farms, market rate and affordable units co-exist side-by-side and one can’t tell the difference.

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1. What is an intervenor?
2. What if The Township didn’t enter the litigation?
3. Why did Hopewell Township agree to a negotiated settlement on Affordable Housing?
4. Why do we have to have more housing? We have enough!
5. Who exactly qualifies for Affordable Housing?
6. I heard that there are going to be a lot of market rate houses too. Why?
7. I don’t object to the 653 Affordable Housing units we need to build, but why didn’t Hopewell Township move forward with 100% Affordable Housing across the Township?
8. Why do we need affordable housing? There are plenty of houses in town that haven’t sold.
9. I heard that it’s just going to be house after house after house. Not that there is anything wrong with housing developments, but shouldn’t it be walkable and maybe some ratables?
10. How soon is this going to happen?
11. Do our taxes have to pay for this?
12. Our schools are already filled up! Are we going to have to build a new school, too?
13. Where will the developments be?
14. Why do you have to build in the southern tier? It’s not fair! We have all the development!
15. I am concerned about how all this new development will impact traffic in Hopewell Township. Why wasn’t this considered upfront?
16. Why do we have to build on the field on the west side of Scotch Road?
17. Why did land have to be classified as a Redevelopment Zone?
18. What if Pennytown had been built? Would we still be getting all of this?
19. If we hadn’t spent the Affordable Trust Fund money on Pennytown, couldn’t we could have paid for all of the affordable housing now required without market rates?
20. What about sewers? I live on Pennington-Washington Crossing Road and my septic system is failing. I thought we were promised no high-density housing near us. What is going to be done to help us?
21. I am concerned that bringing more Affordable Housing to Hopewell Township is going to negatively impact our community and bring down property values.
22. How was the public involved in this process? Is this all a done deal?
23. Questions have been raised recently regarding the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement for the Zaitz Tract behind the Shop Rite. First, is the Zaitz PILOT a good deal for Hopewell Twp taxpayers?
24. Will Hopewell Township taxes go up because of this PILOT?
25. What’s the impact on our schools?