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Governor Christie Vetoes S-1 Housing Bill

Governor Chris Christie has provisionally vetoed a measure that fizzles to correct how affordable housing is offered in New Jersey.

The laboriously revised bill falls far short of its original purpose by making a new bureaucracy and carrying forward and even escalating an unnecessary burden on the State's municipalities.

Governor Christie stated that if the goal of the said measure is to fill in an already broken system for providing affordable housing with a common sense, predictable and achievable process, then the bill badly misses the target.

According to the Governor, “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.”

Here is what 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

  • obliging that 1 out of every 10 newly erected housing units be designated as affordable (towns with no development would have no further affordable housing obligation other than to inventory and renovate its existing affordable housing stock)

  • restricting State review of municipal housing plans

  • shield against builder’s remedy lawsuits for municipalities

  • removal of commercial development fees, though residential development fees were allowed to be charged if a developer chose not to build affordable units on-site and come to agreement to pay the residential development fee instead

And this is the present, unacceptable form, S-1:

  • needs 10% of all the housing units in every municipality in the State to be affordable

  • requires that 25% of the affordable housing obligation be met by inclusionary development, legislating sprawl by boosting the cost of mandated new housing by 500% to 700%.

  • makes 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 make sure it meets the requirements of the bill

  • provides no meaningful protection against builder’s remedy lawsuits

  • obligates 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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