What is the Fair Share Housing Center and why is there a settlement agreement with it?

The Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) is a court-recognized affordable housing advocacy group. FSHC has been heavily involved in monitoring NJ municipalities’ efforts to comply with affordable housing obligations. In Spring 2017, the Town of Westfield and FSHC entered into negotiations to determine an affordable housing strategy for Westfield. Westfield, the FSHC, and a court appointed Special Housing Master identified the most appropriate locations for new housing development, while still maintaining Westfield’s character and agreed to a Settlement Agreement that was approved unanimously by the Mayor and Town Council in April 2017. The Superior Court further approved the Settlement Agreement in October 2017, finding it to be fair and reasonable to low and moderate income households.

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1. Why does Westfield need to provide an opportunity for low and moderate income housing?
2. What if Westfield decided not to provide an opportunity for low and moderate income housing?
3. How does the law define affordable housing? What’s the difference between low and moderate income housing?
4. What is the Fair Share Housing Center and why is there a settlement agreement with it?
5. Why even settle? Why not litigate?
6. What does the Settlement Agreement call for?
7. What is an overlay zone?
8. Where are the “overlay zones?”
9. The Settlement Agreement says that the Town has a rehabilitation share of 9 units, a prior round obligation of 139 units, and a prospective need obligation of 1090 units. That seems like a lot! What d
10. Are there plans already in place to develop these areas in the overlay zones?
11. What are these developments going to look like, and will Westfield become urbanized?
12. What impact will these new residential developments have on traffic and schools?
13. What are the next steps?