Senate Passes Bill For Developers To Challenge Age Restrictions

The state Senate today passed a bill that allows developers to challenge age restrictions on pending developments. The bill (S-2577), which passed 21-13, allows developers to ask municipalities to reconsider projects that had been approved as senior housing. If the towns don’t open up the buyer pool, developers can take their case to court. The bill only applies to projects that have not started construction nor sold a unit. Supporters say this is strictly an economic issue – it’s a type of stimulus to help builders, who have been hit hard by the recession and housing crash, to start working again. Builders are reluctant to break ground on further senior housing projects because the market has become so overbuilt. Using statistics from Otteau Valuation Group, builders say there is a 16-year supply in senior housing. That means it will take 16 years to get to a healthy market level of a six-month supply, taking into account all the houses on the market now and all those that are in the pipeline. The bill had faced opposition from towns that feared losing control over the process and senators who felt it was unfair to allow courts to reverse communities’ decisions. “This is like a back-door grab for power,” said Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer). The state’s largest builder, K. Hovnanian, is considering taking some of its planned senior communities in central and southern New Jersey back to towns and trying to get restrictions lifted. (Star Ledger)

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