TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the prime sponsor of S-1, a bill which would abolish the dysfunctional Council on Affordable Housing and create a fairer model for municipalities to meet their affordable housing obligations, issued the following remarks before a Senate Economic Growth Committee hearing on the legislation today:
“Today, we’re going to take testimony on legislation which will abolish COAH and its complex rules and regulations which add unnecessary costs to taxpayers through a top-down, micro-managed system that serves no one well, except consultants, planners, lawyers and State bureaucrats, while doing a disservice to the goal of providing affordable housing for the residents of New Jersey, as well as to needed job creation and economic growth.
“This is a work in progress. The Economic Growth Committee will hold an additional hearing on the legislation on February 8th. The bill that was introduced has the following goals:
“1. Eliminating COAH and its academic calculation of housing quotas for every municipality and its unwieldy process of certification of plans to meet those quotas.
“2. Permanently de-linking job creation and development fees from housing obligations.
“3. Eliminating housing obligations from non-sewer areas.
“4. Establishing a standard, to be determined and placed in the bill, of inclusionary housing that will provide a reasonable opportunity for low and moderate income families and people living with developmental disabilities to have affordable housing in every municipality.
“5. Establishing a process by which affordable housing will be give a reasonable opportunity to be built in municipalities that do not meet the inclusionary standard.
“6. Grandfathering in Regional Contribution Agreements that were initiated to spur over $100 million of housing construction and thousands of affordable housing units while limiting the number of low income housing obligations that can be transferred by a Regional Contribution Agreement.”
The bill will be considered at the February 8 hearing of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, with a vote taken at a later date. The Committee is scheduled to meet at 10:00 AM in Committee Room 1 of the Statehouse Annex in Trenton.