LANDMARK GREEN, JASEY & COUTINHO BILL TO ABOLISH COAH & REVAMP NEW JERSEY HOUSING LAW ADVANCED BY ASSEMBLY PANEL

(TRENTON) – New legislation Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green, Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey and Assemblyman Albert Coutinho sponsored to abolish the state Council on Affordable Housing, eliminate a commercial development fee and streamline New Jersey’s housing laws was released 4-0-2 Friday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3447) would abolish COAH and its bureacracy, eliminate the 2.5 percent fee on commercial development to help pay for affordable housing development and provide major housing obligation reductions for municipalities throughout New Jersey.
“New Jersey will finally have a viable housing plan for its hard-working families that is also good for business and workable for mayors,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “This bill gives towns relief from COAH’s unreasonable demands, offers businesses a much-needed break and clears the way for housing for lower-income New Jerseyans to finally actually be built in our state. It is a sound and reasonable approach that bodes well for New Jersey’s future.”
“This new alternative takes into account the needs of everyone in this state while also clearing the way for economic growth and development,” said Jasey (D-Essex). “Our hard-working families deserve to know that housing they can afford will be built, our mayors need certainty and the flexibility to control their development and our businesses need relief from the development fee. This bill accomplishes all those goals to everyone’s benefit. It represents a new day in our effort to make New Jersey more affordable.”
“This new approach will bring an end to the constant wasting of taxpayer money on numerous lawsuits and court challenges, saving taxpayer money and allowing us to better focus reDests on issues like public safety, health care, education economic growth and job creation,” said Coutinho (D-Essex). “Clearly, we’re all be better off by implementing this clear and intelligible system that actually will encourage both low- and moderate-income housing and economic growth. That’s good news for New Jersey families and businesses.”
The bill formed from input from housing advocates, mayors and businesses would:
· Abolish the state Council on Affordable Housing, or COAH.
· Provide a major decrease in municipal housing obligations compared to the ones required by COAH.
· Exempt 71 municipalities from housing obligations. These municipalities have more than 50 percent of their children participating in free or reduced school lunch programs.
· Require municipalities with 20 to 50 percent of their children on free and reduce lunch to ensure 8 percent of their housing is for low- and moderate-income families.
· Require municipalities with less than 20 percent of their children on free and reduced lunch to ensure 10 percent of their housing is for low- and moderate-income families.
· Eliminate the 2.5 percent fee on commercial development.
· Subject residential development that does not include low- and moderate-income housing to a 1.5 percent development fee.
“This simple system that maximizes the ability of the free market to produce a wide variety and choice of homes will most effectively provide housing for the low- and moderate-income residents of New Jersey,” Green said. “We’re giving municipalities clear and realistic standards and relief to those that already have a healthy housing mix. This is a smarter approach that will mean a better New Jersey for residents and businesses alike.”
The bill was released by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee chaired by Green.