Meeting to discuss affordable housing Obligations and effects

Yesterday’s APP article by Alesha Bord-Williams

MANALAPAN — Area legislators and the League of Municipalities will hold a public forum on the township’s affordable housing obligation and its possible effects 7 p.m., Tuesday at town hall, Route 522.

Sen. Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, all R-Monmouth, will host the forum. Also in attendance will be representatives of the League of Municipalities, under which more than 200 towns have joined in a lawsuit appealing the state’s Council on Affordable Housing regulations, League Executive Director William Dressel said. A second forum will be held in Red Bank in October.

“We believe the regulations are based on faulty data,” Dressel said. “And from bad data comes bad numbers.”

The league in its appellate court complaint charges COAH regulations force development on land set aside for open space and will cram housing into built-out towns, Dressel said. New regulations also would ban municipalities’ ability to
transfer requirements to other towns through regional contribution agreements, or RCAs.

“After closer examination of their analysis, it appears they calculated such things as golf courses, backs of yards, recreational areas, median strips and highways and baseball fields,” Dressel said. “Also, we don’t believe there’s enough money (through developer’s fees) to be able to provide affordable housing, which we believe is going to increase taxes for towns generally to build the number of units that are being called for.”

Manalapan Mayor Michelle Roth said her municipality is experiencing similar problems with the state, which has calculated the township’s housing obligation by counting parks, preserved farmland and grass medians as buildable land.

“Therefore the numbers for Manalapan Township were extraordinarily high and not reflective of reality,” Roth said.

According to Beck spokesman Tom Fitzsimmons, Manalapan will be required to build 1,179 units. Beck said Red Bank will be required to build 672 units “for a 1.8-square-mile town of, maybe, 12,000 people…obviously it doesn’t make a lot of
sense.”

“These are all issues we’re going to explore a great deal on Tuesday because we believe people need to be educated about the impacts this new law and the regulations will have on each and every community in the state of New Jersey,”
Beck said.

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