(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo on Thursday announced they’ve introduced Assembly legislation to abolish the state Council on Affordable Housing and give municipalities more control over their own housing development.
“New Jersey’s bureaucratic tangle of affordable housing laws have been with us for decades and have accomplished nothing more than proving they don’t work,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “Despite our laws, we remain one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, with burdensome property taxes and ever-expanding suburban sprawl. It’s time for a radical change and this bill will bring it.”
“New Jersey’s affordable housing laws have failed miserably when it comes to creating equal housing opportunity for everyone,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We’ve instead been left with a system that benefits no one but high-paid lawyers and consultants while hurting our property taxpayers and communities. We need change and we need it now.”
Mainly, the bill (A-2071) would:
Abolish the Council on Affordable Housing and allow municipalities to administer their own affordable housing obligations.
Eliminate state-imposed affordable housing obligations and permit local governments to take charge of affordable housing planning.
Charge the State Housing Commission with assisting municipalities in facilitating affordable housing.
To ease the pressure for municipalities to meet affordable housing goals, permit regional contribution agreements in the works before they were outlawed in 2008 to be reviewed and approved through the end of 2011.
Greenstein and DeAngelo said completion of these RCAs could allow for the production of as many as 5,000 units and the transfer of up $116 million to cities for housing rehabilitation and redevelopment.
Under the legislation, municipalities, following a general reexamination of their master plan and housing element, would adopt an ordinance declaring that they’ve determined that they have provided an opportunity for an appropriate variety and choice of housing and have complied with their obligations under the Fair Housing Act.
The bill would require municipalities that don’t adopt an ordinance determining compliance to instead adopt a specific inclusionary zoning ordinance ensuring that low- and moderate-income housing is built whenever market rate units are developed.
“This legislation permits municipalities to tailor incentives to their specific needs for encouraging development,” Greenstein said. “Not only would we revamp our failed approach to affordable housing, but we would encourage economic growth and job creation.”
“Our overall goal is to get the state bureaucracy off the backs of our towns and to let each community decide its own approach to providing affordable housing,” DeAngelo said.
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