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Governor Chris Christie Calls Current COAH Legislation Insufficient

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Trenton, NJ

Governor Chris Christie today conditionally vetoed legislation that fails to reform how affordable housing is provided in New Jersey. The heavily amended legislation falls far short of its original intent by creating a new bureaucracy and continuing and even increasing an unnecessary burden on the State's municipalities.

"If the goal of this legislation is to replace an already broken system for providing affordable housing with a common sense, predictable and achievable process, then this bill sorely misses the mark," said Governor Christie. "The Senate has presented a considerably different version of the legislation I originally supported in June -- one that was simple and sufficiently close to the recommendations contained in the March 19, 2010, report of the Housing Opportunity Task Force. This version perpetuates the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) nightmare by placing further burdens on municipalities and the environment while creating rather than eliminating additional bureaucracies in order to satisfy the needs of special interests. I believe this bill should be amended to return it to its original, beneficial form as passed by the Senate in June."

The original version of S-1 passed by the Senate in June 2010 called for:

* eliminating COAH and the arbitrary affordable housing numbers it
assigned to municipalities
* requiring that 1 out of every 10 newly constructed housing units
be designated as affordable (towns with no growth would have no
further affordable housing obligation other than to inventory and
rehabilitate its existing affordable housing stock)
* limiting State review of municipal housing plans
* protection against builder's remedy lawsuits for municipalities
* elimination of commercial development fees, though residential
development fees were permitted to be charged if a developer chose
not to build affordable units on-site and decided to pay the
residential development fee instead

In its current, unacceptable form, S-1:

* requires 10% of all the housing units in every municipality in the
State to be affordable
* necessitates that 25% of the affordable housing obligation be met
by inclusionary development, legislating sprawl by increasing the
amount of mandated new housing by 500% to 700%.
* creates a new regulated entity to review a municipality's housing
plans
* causes towns to have to pay for two planners -- one to draft the
plan, and the other to certify it meets the requirements of the bill
* provides no meaningful protection against builder's remedy lawsuits
* requires towns in the Highlands, Pinelands, Fort Monmouth and
Meadowlands districts to have 15%to 20% of all new construction as
affordable


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