Gov. Phil Murphy signd A573, which makes several changes to the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) Act designed to speed up the construction permitting process. The bill codifies a three-day construction inspection turnaround from the date of the requested inspection and allows for developers to contract with private on-site inspection agencies if local construction officials cannot complete the inspection within three days of the requested date. The bill brings New Jersey in line with several other states where private sector inspections supplement government inspections. The ultimate approval and sign-off on a certificate of occupancy will still come from local construction officials.
The bill also provides local governments with several avenues to improve their ability to conduct inspections in a timely manner, including a more streamlined bidding process to contract with private inspection agencies to conduct inspections for them or enter into shared services agreements to consolidate work among multiple municipalities.
In addition to the bill signing, Governor Murphy, along with Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, announced the award of more than $19 million to organizations across the state through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), and the HOME Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO) Production Program.
“As we enter a new year, this Administration’s mission remains the same; we will continue to make New Jersey stronger, fairer, and more affordable for all of our residents,” said Governor Murphy. “Today’s bill signing will speed up the construction permitting process, making sure that developers are able to complete their projects without delay. The over $19 million investment will aid in the completion of 79 affordable housing units across our state. These steps will bring us closer to providing quality and affordable homes to our residents.”
Today’s funding is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and provides financial assistance for the development of different types of affordable housing projects to create housing that New Jersey residents can afford in communities around the state. The federal funding that DCA receives from the National Housing Trust Fund and the HOME CHDO Program comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“Governor Murphy and I are committed to addressing the shortage of affordable housing in New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “We are contributing significant funding for these projects, which will create decent, stable housing throughout the state that is affordable and accessible. Through this investment, we will strengthen neighborhoods, create more diverse communities, and stimulate economic development.”
All the awards were given to smaller rental and homeownership housing projects sized at 25 or fewer units, which often have difficulty obtaining financing. These projects will fill the gaps within the existing affordable housing framework, build on current assets and investments, and add value to neighborhoods. The projects are also being developed by community-based organizations that have a strong connection to the housing equity issues in their communities.
A total of 17 developers were awarded these funds totaling a $19,082,545 investment towards 79 units. The award recipients include:
Affordable Housing Trust Fund Awards
SJCS Rehab, LLC – $1,552,731 for 10 units in Camden City
Garden State Episcopal CDC – $1,454,911 for 6 units in East Orange City
Magill Real Estate Holdings, LLC -$3,813,526 for 20 units in the City of Elizabeth
HOME Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO) Program
Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society – $270,600 for 1 unit in Woodbury City
National Housing Trust Fund (HTF)
GFM Properties, Inc – $1,000,000 for 4 units in Midland park Borough
Nouvelle Housing Solutions, Inc. – $1,000,000 for 4 units in Franklin Lakes Borough
The Salt & Light Company, Inc. – $651,900 for 4 units in Pemberton Borough
LUA Homes LLP – $1,000,000 for 2 units in the City of Newark
BES Homes LLC – $1,000,000 for 2 units in the City of Newark
Homes By TLC, Inc. – $866,000 for 2 units in Ewing Township
Reformed Church of Highland Park – $1,000,000 for 4 units in Highland Park
Perth Amboy YMCA – $1,000,000 for 7 units in Perth Amboy
Triple C Housing, Inc. – $1,000,000 for 2 units in North Brunswick Township
Affordable Housing Alliance, Inc. – $1,000,000 for 3 units in Millstone Township
HABcore, Inc. – $805,120 for 2 units in the City of Asbury Park
Triple C Housing, Inc. – $667,757 for 2 units in Berkeley Township
Nouvelle Housing Solutions, Inc. – $1,000,000 for 4 units in Wayne Township
“This common sense legislation will help ordinary citizens cut through bureaucratic red tape and expedite important inspections which will help spur the economy,” said Senate President Nick Scutari. “We are also making important investments in affordable housing that will help make homes more affordable for families who face financial obstacles in finding places to live. These efforts will make housing more affordable and improve the quality of life for residents in diverse communities.”
“Helping New Jersey’s small business community grow and thrive was one of the essential priorities we identified at the outset of this session,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “Providing a more efficient construction inspection process will enable businesses in New Jersey to open their doors to serve their communities faster, eliminating barriers that lengthen the costly construction process.”
“In New Jersey, applying for and receiving a building permit can be a lengthy and costly process. This law will establish a means to simplify and expedite the process to shorten the time it takes to get a new construction permit,” said Senator Patrick J. Diegnan. “I am grateful to my colleagues, and the Governor for providing residents with an alternative option for contractors, businesses, and homeowners who wish to take a quicker route to getting an inspection done.”
“Construction inspections are an important part of the process of building a small business, ensuring both customers and staff are safe. Yet too often the process is cumbersome and lengthy, adding unnecessary costs for small business owners,” said Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald. “This legislation will make the current construction inspection process more efficient and timely for small businesses, allowing them to realize their dreams and get to work.”
“By codifying the required three-day inspection turnaround, we ensure things can move along expeditiously,” said Assemblyman Rob Karabinchak. “Right now three days is the standard but because it’s not set in stone it’s often ignored and at the expense of a business or contractor experiencing costly delays.”
“Affordable housing should be a basic right for everyone and today, Governor Murphy signed a bill to expedite that process,” said City of Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “This initiative is not only a major step forward for our city, but a solution for an ongoing problem.”
“The bill signed today will foster a more efficient system of handling building code inspections that will result in a more affordable housing market, revitalized economic strength and additional career and business opportunities in the construction industry,” said Jeff Kolakowski, CEO, New Jersey Builders Association. “I applaud Governor Murphy, Lt. Governor Oliver, legislative sponsors and coalition partners for a truly collaborative process that allowed us to find a sensible solution to a problem that has quietly plagued the state’s residents and its development and business communities for years. This is prime example of good governance and how the public and private sectors can come together to better meet the needs of our state.”
“NJBIA thanks Governor Murphy for signing this bill into the law and the sponsors and Legislature for their full support. We greatly appreciate both working with the business community and construction industry on this legislation,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “This law provides a more expeditious process for obtaining construction inspections, which is greatly needed to avoid unnecessary delays for certificates of occupancy.”
NJ Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Tom Bracken said ‘economic development projects in New Jersey are often subject to lengthy delays because municipalities may not have the resources to turn-around construction inspections in a timely manner. This unfairly stalls projects and increases costs for developers. In the meantime, towns and cities miss the much-needed taxes that result from completed projects. The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce advocated for bill A-573 because it streamlines the inspection process by allowing for third party, private-sector construction inspections when municipal inspectors cannot complete the work within three days. Today’s action eliminates an impediment to economic development that results in our state becoming more business friendly and helps in our quest to improve our competitiveness. We thank Gov. Murphy for signing A-573 and the bill sponsors (Karabinchak; Freiman; Calabrese; Greenwald; Scutari; Diegnan) for tackling this important issue. We especially thank the prime sponsor, Assemblyman Karabinchak, for his diligent work with all the stakeholders and his expertise and guidance on this important issue.’