TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak announced that on Monday, February 1st the Senate Economic Growth Committee, which he chairs, will begin hearing testimony on his bill S-1, co-sponsored by Senator Bateman. S-1 would abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and establish a streamlined and simple process to comply with NJ Supreme Court mandates that require every municipality maintain a fair share of low- and moderate-income housing.
“The purpose of this bill is to repeal COAH’s top down, micro-managed, and complex bureaucracy. For decades, COAH has burdened property taxpayers with millions of dollars in unnecessary cost of compliance by municipalities with its maze of ever-changing rules and regulations. And, COAH has discouraged job creation by adding housing requirements and fees based on the number of jobs created and private dollars invested,” said Senator Lesniak. “COAH will be replaced by the State Planning Commission and by a system that establishes a standard of fair share low- and moderate-income housing for which a municipality can decide among three different compliance mechanisms.”
Lesniak explained that municipalities will be able to determine if they have already met the inclusionary housing standard and can adopt a simple ordinance to declare their compliance. If a municipality finds that they do not meet housing requirements, they must adopt an ordinance to that effect and work to meet the standards prescribed by law. Municipalities that fail to adopt an ordinance will be subject to a use variance wherein a housing development would be deemed to have met the positive requirements for a use variance by the low- and moderate-income housing component of the development application.
“This market driven approach – free from complex, confusing and costly state requirements – will produce more affordable housing and reduce costs to both municipalities and the State,” concluded Senator Lesniak.
Senator Lesniak expects the bill to be ready for a committee vote at its next meeting on March 8th. Both hearings are scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM.