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J.W. Field Co. v. Township of Franklin

Decided: October 7, 1985.

J.W. FIELD COMPANY, INC. AND JACK W. FIELD, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, PLANNING BOARD OF TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SEWERAGE AUTHORITY AND STONY BROOK REGIONAL SEWERAGE AUTHORITY, DEFENDANTS. JZR ASSOCIATES, INC., PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN ET ALS, DEFENDANT. FLAMA CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN ET ALS, DEFENDANT. WOODBROOK DEVELOPMENT CORP., PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, ET ALS, DEFENDANT. WHITESTONE CONSTRUCTION, INC., PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN ET ALS, DEFENDANT. BRENER ASSOCIATES, PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, ET ALS, DEFENDANT. RAKECO DEVELOPERS, INC, PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, ET ALS, DEFENDANT. JOHN H. VAN CLEEF, SR., JOHN E. VAN CLEEF, JR. AND BONNIE VAN CLEEF, PLAINTIFFS, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, ET ALS, DEFENDANTS. LEO MINDEL, PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, ET ALS, DEFENDANT. R.A.S. LAND DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC., PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, ET ALS, DEFENDANT. JOPS COMPANY, PLAINTIFF, V. TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN, ET ALS, DEFENDANTS



Serpentelli, A.j.s.c.

Serpentelli

[206 NJSuper Page 167] This Mount Laurel case provides the court with the opportunity to continue the process of development of a method of fair share allocation as required by Southern Burlington Cty. N.A.A.C.P. v. Mt. Laurel Tp., 92 N.J. 158 (1983). (hereinafter Mount Laurel II) (all page citations shall refer to Mount Laurel II unless otherwise noted) The purpose of the inquiry is to determine the fair share obligation of the Township of Franklin and to reexamine certain aspects of the fair share methodology adopted by this court in AMG Realty Company, et

al. v. Warren Tp., 207 N.J. Super. 388 (Law Div.1984) (hereinafter AMG) All municipalities are required to provide a realistic opportunity for the construction of their fair share of the region's present lower income housing need generated by dilapidated or overcrowded units, including their own. Municipalities like Franklin, which contain "growth areas" as shown on the State Development Guide Plan, (hereinafter SDGP) also have an obligation to provide for their fair share of the region's prospective need absent some special defense which would demonstrate their inability to do so. (at 243-244) The issue before the court is whether that obligation should be calculated in strict accordance with the methodology previously adopted in AMG or whether AMG should be modified in any respect. The court will consider each of the township's suggested modifications separately.

I.

Present Need

The methodology adopted by this court defines present need as the indigenous need of a municipality and the fair share of the reallocated excess need of the municipality's present need region. Indigenous need is defined as substandard housing currently existing in any municipality. Every municipality, regardless of its characterization in the SDGP, is responsible for meeting its own indigenous need. However certain municipalities, even though located in areas characterized as growth in the SDGP, have an indigenous need which far exceeds their fair share. They cannot be expected to provide decent housing for a disproportionate amount of the need. (at 243-244) Therefore, when the total regional housing stock is determined and the percentage of that stock which is substandard is identified, any municipality whose indigenous need, in relationship to its housing stock, is in excess of the regional percentage of substandard housing will have its excess assigned to a reallocation pool. This pool will be distributed to all growth area municipalities

within the region which do not have substandard housing in excess of the regional percentage, excluding selected urban aid municipalities as identified in the AMG opinion. AMG, 207 N.J. Super. at 537.

The AMG methodology identifies a housing unit as falling within the substandard category if it has any one of the following characteristics:

1. Overcrowded units -- defined as dwelling units occupied by more than 1.01 persons per room

2. Units lacking complete plumbing facilities for the exclusive use of the occupants

3. Units lacking adequate heating

The number of such units is identified by reference to Census Bureau figures in schedules STF-1 and STF-3 of the 1980 Census. Id. at 471-511. In order to identify the units lacking adequate heating, an additional mathematical computation is performed which need not be repeated here. Id. at 461-463. The total of the unduplicated count for these three categories results in the total number of units which the AMG methodology defines as "substandard". However, to obtain the number of substandard units actually occupied by lower income households, the methodology makes one additional adjustment. A 1978 study by the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission entitled, "People, Dwellings & Neighborhoods," reported that 82% of substandard housing units within the area covered by that study were occupied by low and moderate income households. Therefore, the methodology multiplies the gross number of substandard units by 82% thereby reducing the gross number by 18%. The method of reallocation of the excess present need pool is described in AMG. AMG, at 402, 404-405.

Subsequent to AMG, Judge Stephen Skillman, the Mount Laurel judge for the northern district, adopted a different method of identifying the present need obligation of a municipality. Countryside Properties Inc. v. Ringwood Bor., et al., 205 N.J. Super 291 (Law Div.1984). In that opinion Judge Skillman utilized, in part, the Rutgers Center for Urban Policy Research

method for identifying present need. "Mount Laurel II: Challenge and Delivery of Low Cost Housing," (1983) (hereinafter CUPR). The report uses seven housing characteristics or "surrogates" obtained from the 1980 Census data in order to identify whether a housing unit should be considered substandard:

1. Year built: prior to 1940 or 1940 and after

2. Persons per room: more than 1.01 persons per room

3. Access to unit: lack of exclusive access

4. Plumbing facilities: lack of exclusive plumbing

5. Kitchen facilities: lack of complete kitchen facilities

6. Heating facilities: lack of central heating

7. Elevator: lack of elevator in a multistory structure of four stories or more (CUPR at 111)

The report establishes a two-level analysis of deficiency depending on whether the unit was built before 1940. If the unit was built before 1940 it will be considered substandard if it has any one of the other six deficiencies listed above. If the unit was built in 1940 or after the unit is substandard if it has any two of the other six deficiencies listed above. It should be noted that the six deficiencies include two which are essentially identical to those used in the AMG methodology -- overcrowding and lack of exclusive plumbing. The CUPR also utilizes lack of central heating as a surrogate. AMG uses the category of units lacking adequate heating. The difference is that the AMG methodology is more restricted in its count. A unit with a room heater vented by a flue is considered adequate heating. AMG counts as deficient only those ...


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