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Reader thinks COAH discussion here would be far more intelligent and productive if you were more informed

In COAH, Ridgewood New Jersey on January 4, 2009 at 5:40 pm

You are correct. These are people we are talking about. That is why the Village must consider all of the variables that allows Ridgewood to best serve the needs of these individuals. This includes easy access to a variety of public transportation, food markets, dining, entertainment, etc. both COAH residents and non-COAH residents (who will occupy most of the units). Although those looking for a suburban single family home, may not choose Broad Street as a location, for those with limited housing budgets and/or the need for an apartment/condo (as opposed to a larger home and all the expense that comes with a house/property), a tastefully developed property at Broad Street may be ideal. The potential residents could include young professionals (commuting into NYC), single parents, elderly residents and families, who cannot afford a traditional single family home, to name just a few possibilities.

It is also the responsibility of the Village Council and others to act in a fiscally responsible manner on behalf of all residents and evaluate the cost to taxpayers to develop the proposed property and provide long-term municipal services. Thus, it is REQUIRED that they an we consider what makes “economic and logistical sense” for the Village. To that end, while it sounds appealing to “spread the projects around town”, this is not a realistic possibility.

First, there must be a sufficient number of available sites with willing sellers at reasonable prices that are large enough and can be zoned for multi-family units.

Secondly, COAH units are not profitable for a developer. Thus, the project must also include market rate units. By breaking the required number of units into smaller projects spread throughout town, the smaller individual projects may not be economical for a developer. If a single developer could build ALL the properties, it MAY become more economical. However, it would never be as profitable for the developer as a single larger location. At the end of the day, a developer has to be willing to build to units. This is a business decision for the developer, not you or the Village Council. The risks are that no developer wants to build the individual units or that the it becomes cost prohibitive to do so for the developer(s) or that the Village must “give too much” to attract developers to build multiple smaller projects.

Thirdly, there is a deadline imposed by the state. Developing multiple properties throughout town would take years to locate, acquire, re-zone and build, at a far greater expense than a single development on a suitably large and zoned property that is available today. This assumes that surrounding residents in these multiple neighborhoods around town don’t protest a development next door and drag the process out for even longer (a virtual certainty). While the idea of multiple smaller projects sounds quaint and appealing, this is not a realistic option.

BTW, I am not a member of the Village Council or the Planning or Zoning Boards. I am simply a resident, who has a reasonable understanding of many of the issues and has spent a little time thinking through the alternatives. If you and others spent a little more time gaining a better understanding of the facts and thinking about all sides of an issue before posting on this blog, the discussions here would be far more intelligent and productive.

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  1. so let me get this straight your going to make me pay for someone housing raising my cost of living forcing me to leave town or more into a housing project ? …yea that makes sence….

  2. It seems to me that this sort of social engineering towards housing is what led us to the current economic crisis that we are in. Sure it is a nice dream to be able to live where one would like; however, it isn’t always possible and we have to accept the fact that we live where we can afford.

  3. COAH housing is a state requirement, not an option. How does adding a housing development like this, with COAH and non-COAH units, raise your cost of living or force you to leave town?

  4. How long have the powers-that-be known about the deadline imposed by the State? Seems like the State would have let us know with plenty of lead time…..and yet this all seemed to happen bing-bang-boom with no public hearing or any sort of forum where residents could hear all the “variables” that the VC and the Planning and Zoning boards had to consider. When during all of this deliberation did the public have a chance for input? If there was so much thought and discussion going on, then there must have been plenty of lead time prior to the state-mandated deadline. It all seems like it is being shoved down the throats of the residents of Broad Street, with the ‘excuse’ that there was a deadline and we had to move quickly. Deliberately keeping the public out of the discussion does not add up to an emergency – it adds up to a cover-up, in my opinion.

    Don’t be so condescending about those who post on the blog. Your patronizing comments about how you are informed and have thought through all the alternatives are sickening. You are clearly on the “inside,” denials notwithstanding, and you obviously think you are superior to the residents who you criticize. The blog is a perfectly legitimate way for a discussion to take place. The fact that you don’t happen to like what some people write does not mean that the blog discussions are unintelligent or nonproductive.

  5. Affordable housing is the law, and I believe the right thing for a town to do. We should welcome our new neighbors to our community. Treat them the way that we would want to be treated.

    I would not want to live on Broad Street. I moved to the suburbs to live in a residential neighborhood. I lived in the city when I was single but with a family I prefer a quiter neighborhood. Maybe spreading the housing around town is a good idea. Some may have reasons for wanting to live near town. When my children are older and living on their own I may think about an apartment/condo closer to town amenities. It won’t seem like high density housing if we spread it around in smaller doses.

  6. “Reader thinks COAH discussion here would be far more intelligent and productive if you were more informed” – This title is completely insulting. People get informed by reading and writing on the blog. Jerk.

  7. To answer 3:08’s question, I am not sure it is appropriate to fault the Village Council for dragging its feet on this issue. my understanding is that they were pursuing offset agreements with other towns and that the law was changed, eliminating the possibility of such offset agreements. Now the the Village Council is forced to pursue its current course of action.

  8. To 7:36

    Why didn’t the VC let the residents of Ridgewood, and particularly of the neighborhood in question, know that all of this was going on?????

  9. The VC knew about the COAH requirements. They also knew that they would no longer be able to pay another town to build their COAH housing. They thought that a lawsuit would force the state to accept offsets but they lost. They did not prepare for what would happen if they lost.

  10. If the market rate housing is in the right location I would consider a move. A new condo would be more appealing to me than some of the apartment buildings that we have.

  11. “It seems to me that this sort of social engineering towards housing is what led us to the current economic crisis that we are in.”

    No. The economic crisis was caused by 8 years of incompetence by the federal government shirking its duties for oversight and regulation of financial markets.

  12. Even if the VC was hoping to get “offset” agreements with other towns, they should have had a well thought out “Plan B.”

    As for having state politicians mandate that a community make it affordable for a designated, less affluent, socio-economic population to live amongst it, is the height of hubris and offensive.

    I want to live in Tuxedo Park. Do you think they’ll be building “affordable” housing for me to live there any time soon? Affordable; being relative to the price of homes in Ridgewood versus Tuxedo Park.

    This is another example of liberal social engineering at its worst. Are we to believe that there aren’t enough homes in communities that would be more compatible with the socio-economic circumstances of the people the state proposes to help?

    This kind of social engineering defies capitalism and destroys the incentive for people to get ahead. People work hard to save enough money to buy a home in communities like Ridgewood. Often their first homes were in far less affluent communities. Having succeeded in life to the extent that they can now afford to live in Ridgewood, why should they be asked to subsidize others to do the same?

    What’s next, shall the government mandate that a certain number of luxury cars be subsidized by those who purchase them at full price for those who couldn’t otherwise afford them?

    Heck, I think I’ll just stop working and go live in one of those “affordable” housing units we’re building. Think of the taxes I’ll save while enjoying all the amenities the village has to offer. Maybe by the time these apartments are built they’ll give me a new Cadillac to go along with it.

  13. With housing prices plummeting, isn’t it likely that most of us now live in affordable housing? Why add more? I’m sure that the Village has quite a quantity already. Why don’t they survey the rental properties to see what already qualifies as affordable?

  14. Regarding the question as to who is responsible, I don’t think it matters what the excuse is at this point. Who ever it was failed to be prepared. In business, the solution is simple. You get rid of the people who are not preforming. Several people on this blog have raised this very point.

    So, we need an answer: who was responsible for the debacle and have they either resigned out of shame or been given walking papers? VC Members? JTH? BB? Department heads? Attorneys? Who?

    All of our VC members have been telling us there will be more accountability. Well, lets have it!

  15. 7:33 AM,

    You mean Congress “shirking its duties,” right?

  16. Pfund is Pfinished. And take your friends with you.

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