Jul 29, 2014
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State Threatens to Take $195K from Ridgewood

Village has developed a plan to allocate funding toward affordable housing to keep the state from seizing its cash.

State Threatens to Take $195K from Ridgewood

Ridgewood is betting its last minute scramble to allocate grant money for affordable housing will keep the state from seizing $195,000.

The Ridgewood council on Wednesday voted affirmatively on a resolution approved by the planning board that set aside $195,000 to Habitat for Humanity to refurbish degraded properties in Ridgewood.

The state – attempting to shore up its own revenue shortfall – has issued a deadline of July 17 for municipalities across the state to dedicate funding toward affordable housing. If towns don't comply, the state plans to seize the money.

For some municipalities, millions of dollars could be at stake. In Ridgewood's case, the $195,000 set aside hasn't been touched in four years.

"It's in the village's interest to meet COAH obligations even if it's in limbo," Village Planner Blais Brancheau said at the planning board meeting. "We need to keep options open."

However, as explained by Brancheau, it's uncertain even if the tentative plan to dedicate the nearly $200,000 will appease the state.

The village passed its affordable housing plan in 2008, which was challenged by West Bergen Mental Healthcare when they embarked to build a group home on S. Broad St.

Though the status of COAH itself is likely to be decided by New Jersey courts sometime down the road, the regulations governing affordable housing remain.

The planning board, citing possible litigation, did not publicly disclose where these properties were located. Habitat for Humanity, which approached Ridgewood years ago, would rehabilitate a select number of homes and sell them at discounted rates

Glen Rock Planning Board Secretary Nancy Spiller said the borough need not worry about the state knocking on its door.

"Currently, Glen Rock's affordable housing fund has a balance of $100,000," Spiller said. "None of these funds are in danger of being seized by the State of New Jersey as our first deposit was made in February, 2009."

[Editor's note: This article was updated Thursday at 10:15 a.m. to reflect the council's unanimous passage of the ordinance Wednesday night.]

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