Senator Anthony Bucco asked Joe Doria, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, in a letter today to correct huge flaws in the new Council On Affordable Housing (COAH) study. The study was intended to identify open acreage available for the construction of court mandated housing. Instead the study identified areas that are clearly closed to development. The letter is attached. Examples include:
- Parts of the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal,
- A rest area and parts of the median on Route 287,
- Areas between the runways and taxiways at Morristown airport,
- More than half of the Schiff Natural Lands Trust,
- Watersheds surrounding the Clyde Potts and Jersey City Reservoirs
- Private homeowners’ back yards
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Bucco stated. “Let’s put houses on an airport runway or the median of 287. Better yet, develop the Picatinny Arsenal I’m sure the homeowners won’t mind the noise.
“At the very least we should get the money we paid for this study back. They used aerial photographs taken in 2002. This document needs to be fixed before it is submitted to the court this June. I look forward to working with Commissioner Doria to ensure that this seriously flawed study is fixed by then,” Bucco concluded.
April 11, 2008
Honorable Joseph V. Doria Jr.
Department of Community Affairs
William M. Ashby Community Affairs Building
101 South Broad Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0088
Dear Commissioner Doria:
I am deeply concerned by published reports that some of the areas identified as available for development under a new Council On Affordable Housing (COAH) study are, in fact, closed to development. Some of the areas listed as open acreage in the (COAH) report include: parts of the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal, a rest area and parts of the median on Route 287, areas between the runways and taxiways at Morristown airport, more than half of the Schiff Natural Lands Trust, watersheds surrounding the Clyde Potts and Jersey City Reservoirs, and private homeowners’ back yards.
It is clear that the study conducted by Rutgers Professor Henry J. Mayer and the University of Pennsylvania is deeply flawed and must be reworked. It is vitally important that this report must be corrected before the document is submitted to the court in June. To do otherwise would be a grave disservice to municipalities across the State who have labored in good faith, for years, to comply with the arbitrary and unpredictable dictates of the council.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to speaking with you about this issue.