Green Statement on Housing Committee Hearing on Blighted Areas

Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee Chair Jerry Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset) released the following statement Monday after the panel’s Dec. 4 hearing on blight in New Jersey’s urban and suburban communities:

“For years, vacant industrial sites on acres of decrepit land have been the local eyesores that everyone sees but few choose to discuss. When it comes to an issue that can significantly affect quality of life in municipalities across our state, the time for action is now.

“Planning for the redevelopment of blighted areas is about maintaining property values, lowering taxes, creating jobs and ensuring the safety of New Jersey communities. The only way to address this statewide problem is to unite and engage leaders from the private sector and officials at the municipal and state levels, which was the goal of this panel meeting.

“The real estate available in New Jersey has great potential, but in order to tap into those gold mines, municipalities must have the tools they need to attract capital and work with investors to restore our communities. Achieving this end is central to our ultimate shared goal of providing people with an incentive to stay in New Jersey and bringing in new residents to expand our tax base.

“The conversation we had Thursday is part of an ongoing discussion about revitalizing New Jersey communities. The elected officials, businesspeople and nonprofit representatives who are cooperating to overcome the many challenges blighted and distressed properties present outlined their varied perspectives on the problem and articulated cost-effective solutions, some of which already are taking effect.

“We are now on the precipice of a great regional planning opportunity that we would be remiss to let pass us by. I look forward to continued talks to ensure that it does not.”