Jersey City Studies Whether to Enact Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Newport Jersey City Skyline
Newport, Jersey City. Photo by Darrell Simmons/Jersey Digs.

With market-rate residential development continuing to increase all over town, from Newport to Bergen-Lafayette to Journal Square, companies are continuing to look at Jersey City as a place to build amid population growth in the New York Metropolitan Area. Simultaneously, affordability in this time of change in the Garden State’s second largest city has been of concern to many longtime residents.

While Newark is not currently seeing as much residential construction as Jersey City, with more and more projects continuing to be proposed in New Jersey’s largest municipality, officials there have already implemented a measure that aims to keep the prices down on some of the new units. The Essex County city made headlines last year with its inclusionary zoning ordinance, which requires in part that developers building new projects with at least 30 units dedicate at least 20 percent of them to “affordable” housing. Newarkers are supposed to be prioritized for these discounted units as part of the ordinance.

Now, Jersey City is looking into whether to adopt an inclusionary ordinance of its own in regards to housing. Back on August 15, all present members of the Jersey City Municipal Council voted to approve a resolution that authorizes the Jersey City Planning Board “to study, report, make recommendations, and propose an inclusionary housing ordinance for consideration and adoption.”

The resolution cites the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Jersey City in 2018 as $1,614 per month and says that the hourly wage needed to afford such a cost is $31.04. It adds that the planning board was authorized to conduct its report within 35 days of August 15, though the proposed ordinance has yet to be heard by the council.

Although the resolution mentions that “the Municipal Council…wishes to ensure that as the city grows and attracts market-rate residential development,…it also provides opportunity for the city to meet or exceed its fair share of the region’s affordable housing need,” few specific details were provided about what such an ordinance could include in Jersey City.


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