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FSHC Releases Updated Fair Share Calculations

Posted by Laura Denker on July 17th 2015

Fair Share Housing Center (“FSHC”) is today releasing a slightly revised version of David Kinsey’s fair share calculations for every municipality in New Jersey making a correction to the data to incorporate the most up to date Census data on one factor used in the model. The corrections all stem from Census data on the number of households in each municipality.

Generally, the corrections have a very minor impact on fair share obligations. 68% of municipalities had no change in prospective need; 28% of municipalities had changes (both increases and decreases) in prospective need of 1, 2, or 3 units; 4% of municipalities had increases of between 4 and 10 units or decreases of between 4 and 16 units. The corrected obligations are available here, corrected report by David N. Kinsey, available here, and corrected spreadsheets are available here. We will be using these obligations in all court filings going forward, starting this week. In the few instances in which we have already filed certifications in particular cases in which the numbers have slightly changed we will be filing updated information.

The one municipality that had a significant impact was Princeton. Due to an error in the coding of data for Princeton, which consolidated former Princeton Borough and former Princeton Township as of January 1, 2013, the earlier calculations used only total occupied housing units data for the former Borough and did not include the relevant data for the former Township, and thus erroneously showed Princeton’s obligation as subject to a cap of 20% of the total homes in the former Borough, and not the combined former Township and former Borough. That said, as Princeton prepares its revised housing element and fair share plan for the consolidated municipality to address its Third Round fair share housing obligations, the municipality may well be eligible for an adjustment of this obligation due to insufficient vacant land, as was the former Borough when its first housing element and fair share plan was reviewed and approved by the Court in 1990, so the higher number may have limited practical impact.

The corrections all concern data on total occupied housing units by municipality from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (“ACS”) survey. In response to a public inquiry to FSHC in late June 2015, we reviewed these data and discovered that instead of using the ACS’ most recent data, namely that from 2009-2013, we had erroneously used data from 2008-2012 and mislabeled those data as being from 2009-2013. We also had erroneously not used consolidated data for Princeton (which is corrected in the 2009-2013 data as Princeton’s consolidation took effect on January 1, 2013). Other than in Princeton, given that this was only a shift of data for one year in a five year survey and only impacts one of many data sources in the overall methodology, the effects are very minor.

We apologize for the error and consistent with our belief in transparency and public process are publicly correcting it today. We note that this is the first time that after three months of this model being public and being scrutinized by hundreds of people that anyone has identified an error in the model. We welcome continued public scrutiny of the model and will continue to make all of the data that we used freely and publicly available. Please contact Adam Gordon, adamgordon@fairsharehousing.org, with any questions.