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On May 10. 2019, Judge Gauss of the Superior Court heard extensive testimony regarding Hanover Township's Third Round Affordable Housing Plan. This plan includes the redevelopment of the Pine Plaza and River Park sites. After an extensive presentation by Hanover Township's Special Planner, Joeseph Burgis, and the report of the Court's Special Master endorsing the Township's Third Round Plan, Judge Gauss issued an opinion finding that the plan is one which is fair and reasonable to provide affordable housing opportunities in Hanover Township. The Court set a date in the fall for the Township to effectuate its plan.
The significance of this Court ruling means that Hanover Township will maintain its own zoning decisions and what is known as immunity from affordable housing challenges through 2025. The plan, which primarily includes the redevelopment of existing sites, also avoids pockets or claims for residential high-density development in the backyard of Hanover Township's residential neighborhoods. Accordingly, the Township maintains its master plan goals and objectives and its planning decisions on a local level. For those towns which do not have affordable housing compliance with respect to the Third Round Plan, they jeopardize the right to make local zoning decisions and all properties within a community could be subjected to a Court-ordered high-density development in order to meet an affordable housing obligation. The Mayor and Township Committee are pleased that in addition to the growth and desirability of Hanover Township, that this Third Round Plan is one which was approved by the Court and maintains the overall character and community of Hanover Township.