TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the Chair of the Senate Economic Growth Committee and sponsor of S-1, legislation which would replace the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) with a fair, market-drive approach to building affordable housing, issued the following remarks at the start of a Committee hearing on his bill. S-1 was ultimately approved by the Committee by a vote of 6-0:
“It’s impossible to support consolidation of government services and also support COAH.
“S-1 paints with a broad brush and thus will miss some fine points. COAH paints with a fine brush and sets up 566 different schemes so as not to miss anything. As a result, it misses the forest for the trees.
“Anyway you slice it, even if you add to COAH’s numbers the affordable units that would be produced by a build out of the fees collected under its regulations but not spent, S-1 would have produced more affordable housing over the past 25 years, without the excessive compliance costs, without the onerous development fees that stifle job production, and with one-fifth the bureaucracy, by working in conjunction with market forces rather than struggling to get the free market to see things COAH’s way.
“More affordable housing, less bureaucracy. It doesn’t get any better than that.”