Van Drew, Albano, Milam Back Call To Give Towns More Time To File Housing Plans

Legislators also call for revising 2.5 commercial development fee

1st Legislative District – Senator Jeff Van Drew and Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam today backed a call by top Assembly leaders to give towns more time to submit housing plans to the state, but said more must be done to ease regulations, including rethinking a proposed 2.5 percent fee on commercial development.

The three lawmakers praised a request made by Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. and Assembly Housing and Local Government Chairman Jerry Green to give towns at least 90 more days to file plans with the state Council on Affordable Housing. Roberts and Green made their request in a letter sent to COAH.

The deadline is Dec. 31.

Roberts and Green made their request in a letter sent to COAH.

“Extending this deadline is a top priority,” Van Drew said. “Considering the economic uncertainty and how the new state regulations were revised as recently as September, this is a reasonable thing to do, but clearly more needs to be done. This 2.5 percent fee on commercial development needs to be reconsidered, especially considering the current economic climate. We should be stimulating development, not hindering it.”

Albano said towns should be given additional time so they can submit thoughtful affordable housing plans that reflect revised regulations and the economic fears.

“Towns are facing a lot of demands right now, so the state must provide more flexibility,” he said. “And this 2.5 percent fee must be rethought. The state should be encouraging commercial construction. That’s vital to our economic viability.”

Milam noted how the 2.5 percent fee applies even to construction projects that already had started before the fee was imposed this summer.

“This is a fairness issue,” Milam said. “Towns deserve more time and businesses deserve this consideration.”