Jersey NAACP slams foes to affordable housing rules

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2008 at 11:02 am

Charges wealthy towns resist because of race and class prejudice

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Star-Ledger Staff

The chairman of the New Jersey NAACP’s housing committee yesterday charged that prejudice against minorities and the poor is one reason 34 higher-income towns have gone to court to oppose new affordable housing rules.

“They don’t want people who look like me in those neighborhoods,” Mike McNeil of Lakewood, the NAACP housing chairman, said at a Statehouse news conference held with the Cherry Hill-based nonprofit Fair Share Housing Center. “It’s not just racism, it’s not just because you are working poor. Someone says you are building affordable housing and they automatically assume the people are jobless and out on the street.”

The groups said the towns objecting to the state Council on Affordable Housing’s new way to determine their “fair share” of affordable housing are among the state’s least diverse.

“Our analysis shows that many of the towns that are objecting the loudest to the new regulations, particularly those that have sued the state in an effort to reduce their housing obligations under COAH, are some of the very wealthiest places in our nation,” said Adam Gordon, a Fair Share attorney. “These towns are complaining about their obligations, but they actually have to build 20 percent less affordable housing than before. They have been assigned reduced obligations, but they are complaining the loudest .”

Stuart Koenig, a lawyer for 19 of the municipalities and an official with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities denied the charge, insisting the towns are questioning the methodology used by the COAH that produced what they believe are unfairly high numbers of affordable housing units.

“These are not municipalities trying to avoid their obligations,” said Koenig. “They are upset with the rules.”

Koenig said the towns have met past affordable housing obligations which increased their population. He said under the rules, the towns are expected to produce more affordable housing because they now have more people.

Koenig said that for Bernards to meet a state demand for 206 affordable houses and apartments, it would have to allow developers to erect 1,131 units by 2018. The Corzine administration wants to see 100,000 affordable units provided state wide over the next 10 years.

Mike Cerra, a League of Municipalities legislative analyst, said 214 municipalities have joined in court action opposing the COAH regulations.

“Fair Share Housing Center has chosen to vilify the very municipalities that have stepped up to the plate to embrace the Fair Housing Act and have filed their compliance plans with, and have asked for certification from COAH,” he said.

The towns that have challenged the new COAH rules include Bethlehem, Clinton Town, Clinton Township, Greenwich Township (Warren County), Montgomery, Peapack-Gladstone, Readington, Roseland, Roxbury, Summit, Union Township (Hunterdon County), Warren, Watchung and Wharton.

Tom Hester may be reached at thester@starledger.com.

  1. You know there is a ton of affordable housing in this state.

    The problem is no one wants to live in the neighborhoods where it is located.

    Why? Crime and really bad and dangerous schools.

    And who’s fault is that? Why it would be the same NAACP and their liberal social engineering pals of the Democrat party.

    Provide good schools and safe streets and the social engineers wouldn’t have to mandate that wealthy towns provide subsidized housing for the lower middle class.

    But you know what, the feel gooders in Ridgewood and their like minded friends in the state have brought this upon us all.

    Stop voting Democrat just because you feel guilty for your wealth. How stupid are you folks?

  2. NAACP same old crap your a racist if we dont get our way …no housing projects in this state have been a total failure and a way to segragate people for years …enough already we have done all this before

  3. more ghetto-ization of this town….first dumb dumb math now this nonsence

  4. newark is a perfect example.. we build hi-rises for them. they riot, burn them out..turn them into crack dens. so we knock down whats left..build them townhouses…whats that gonna last? a few years before they destroy them too?? Maybe its time for those who have lived here for 200+ years with free housing, welfare, etc to get off their asses and get a job. its a disgrace for them to expect new hard working immigrants to pay for the lazy ass drones of this usa society..

  5. love watching the state spend money we dont have,building housing durring a realestate recession ..brilliant ! trying housing projects that failed before brilliant ! paying back friends who are all going to jail brilliant !

  6. is corzine half as dumb as he sounds?

  7. hey maybe mac creepy can movve in in his old age

  8. well the school board got there wish always bragging we beat newark ,now we can be just like newark …

  9. The whole Mt Laurel concept on requiring municipalities to create “affordable housing” is now about a quarter of a century old in NJ–introduced by the notoriously activist Wilentz-lead NJ Supreme Court in the 1980’S. It is a complete failure. No state has followed this enlightened social engineering experiment–and for good reason. Only lawyers and developers like it because it has been highly lucrative for them. Putting working poor in affluent suburbs far away from jobs and mass transit turned out to be not such a good idea. that’s not even considering the environmental impact of high density housing.

    Mahwah has had a dramatic number of Mt. Laurel type developments. Are there any ‘working poor’ still in these units?

    So, all these years later this ill-conceived idea is still being pushed by COAH. And, of course, if you are opposed to this absurdity you must be ‘racist’. I think it is racist to say that the answer to all the problems of the impoverished is to move them next door to white people in the leafy suburbs instead of focusing on housing near jobs, near mass transit, and near the friends, family and neighborhoods that offer greater support to lower income families than the isolation of a distant suburb.

  10. “the isolation of a distant suburb.”

    They do not live that far from here.

  11. pay to play at its finest

  12. It is quite interesting that the article has disappeared from the star ledger home page!!

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