Ocean City Affordable Housing Plan
Ocean City Reaches Agreement to Meet Affordable Housing Needs
The City of Ocean City has entered into a court-approved agreement that will create 93 affordable housing units. This settlement will satisfy Ocean City’s current constitutional obligation arising from more than three decades of court actions, debate and shifting mandates that all New Jersey municipalities have experienced, and it will allow the city to move forward with providing affordable housing for local workers, families and the elderly in a manner consistent with the character of Ocean City.
Ocean City’s plan was negotiated in the context of a Superior Court proceeding in which the city faced a 1,687-unit affordable housing obligation. Successfully arguing that meeting that number is unrealistic on a barrier island with so little vacant land, Ocean City entered into a settlement agreement in July 2018 to create 93 units and adjust zoning laws to encourage the private development of additional affordable housing in all parts of town.
Ocean City’s plan focuses largely on expanding and replacing affordable rental units at existing sites, including Bayview Manor (at Sixth Street and West Avenue) and at Pecks Beach Village (along Fourth Street between West Avenue and Simpson Avenue). These units will be developed in collaboration with the federally funded Ocean City Housing Authority. This partnership will allow Ocean City to share in costs, economies of scale and grant opportunities. In addition, Ocean City will develop 10 family rental units on city-owned property and purchase three homes through a market-to-affordable program.
The first phases of the plan will take advantage of $5 million already collected by Ocean City through a developers’ fee imposed to fund affordable housing.
By providing an approved plan to the court, Ocean City avoids potential “builder’s remedy” lawsuits, which could allow developers to override local zoning laws with a promise to set aside a portion of multi-unit developments for affordable housing.