As indicated in our November 9 Dear Mayor letter, S-1/A-3447, which abolishes the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and makes other changes to the State’s affordable housing laws, was approved by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee. The Committee has now scheduled these bills for a 2nd hearing this Thursday, December 9th. The full Assembly can vote on these bills as soon as December 13th.
At the earlier hearing the League expressed the following serious concerns with the legislation:
The housing stock and school lunch criteria should be reduced, so as to recognize and acknowledge municipalities which have exhibited inclusionary zoning and have provided affordable housing. Otherwise, because of unreachable criteria and required densities, the obligations on many municipalities will be staggering.
The “plan option” must be tied to reasonable and achievable criteria.
Long term deed restriction requirement (30 years) should be removed from definition of “affordability control” (Section 20.)
Municipalities that are compliant or deemed compliant should be protected from the variance procedure and from litigation.
These bills will require municipalities to increase densities and rezone, in order to accommodate the “economic viability” of projects, even in compliant municipalities. Both should be removed since presumptive densities undermine local zoning and there are a number of alternate means for a builder if a particular project is not economically viable.
The inherently beneficial use standard in the variance procedure will also require rezoning.
We anticipate that these bills will be amended in committee, and possibly sent to the floor of the Assembly as soon as Monday, December 13th. We urge you to immediately contact your Assembly representatives and express your concerns with S-1/A-3447. Questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.
New Jersey State League of Municipalities • 222 West State Street • Trenton, NJ 08608 • (609) 695-3481 •FAX: (609) 695-0151