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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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radryan03 wrote:


In the DC metro area they are talking about how the McMansions that seed suburbia could eventually be turned into multi-family lower income housing - it seems reasonable to me.



I am familiar with the process.

I think I saw it once in a movie called Doctor Zhivago

DTG

Posted on: 2008/7/8 19:57
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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Coming from the 'Commonwealth' of Virginia (Fairfax County to be more precise) I am generally disappointed with New Jersey when it come to equitable living and the more or less segregation by taxation this state has adopted.

I think the change is step in the right direction - Fairfax where I grew up is an affluent area mixed with cultural and socioeconomic diversity by design - we had a strong community - it played to the benefit of everyone; esp. children. Don?t get me wrong - we def. had some 'better than though' and 'rough' neighborhoods, but at least it was limited to small enclaves and not entire towns like Mt. Laurel and, for the sake of demonstration, Paterson.

In the DC metro area they are talking about how the McMansions that seed suburbia could eventually be turned into multi-family lower income housing - it seems reasonable to me.

Posted on: 2008/7/8 17:10
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey
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alb wrote:

I think the tables will turn if and when gas prices get higher. Then, a lot of the "edge suburbs" will become ghost towns and eventually get turned into low-income housing by default. People with decent incomes will be paying money under the table to live in housing projects with good access to public transportation.


Huh? How expensive do you think gas would have to be to make people with decent incomes to move to the projects?... but they aren't going to pack up the kids and move to jersey city to save 200 bucks a month.


Well, what about $10 per gallon? I think gasoline is already about $10 per gallon in Europe.

Suburbanites might not move to the projects to save $600 per month, but some might move to into the downtown brownstone land and into Newport.

Obviously: better international relations, better solar power systems, better windmills, etc. could make the economic situation look better in a year or less.

If, on the other hand, gas prices keep going up, and rising gas prices and other environmental challenges continue to push up the price of food grown elsewhere in the country, the story might go something like this: edge suburbanites would move to places like Newport and Jersey City brownstoneland. Prices in downtown Jersey City would rise while prices elsewhere fell, but the rising price of commuting to jobs in New York City would cause the total price of living far from a train or bus route to skyrocket.

Some current moderate-income downtown Jersey City residents would move to the Jersey City Heights, Bergen Lafayette or Greenville, but some would stay downtown by converting affordable housing units into market-rate units, either through illegal sublets or official conversion programs.

Some low-income people would stay downtown by doubling up, but, if food prices continued to skyrocket along with gas prices, maybe others would move out to edge suburb ghost towns and start small fruit and vegetable farms in the yards out there, to compete with the food trucked in from Florida and elsewhere.

Finally, you might say, "But affluent people don't want to live next to poor people!"

I think the answer is: look at Manhattan, Brooklyn, Harsimus Cove and Van Vorst Park. Poor people already live right by middle-income and high-income people all over the place. The only time the moderate-income and high-income people really care is when the young poor guys deal dope or the old poor guys sit on their stoops and yell at people. Otherwise, the practical effect of having poor people live by higher income people is that the higher income people have easier access to maids and babysitters.

Posted on: 2008/7/8 16:48
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey
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shakatah wrote:
Doesn't matter if it is more expensive for people who need affordable housing to live in the burbs. Whole point is that RCA's was a HUGE loophole in the Mt. Laurel decision and allowed the "not in my backyard" mantra when it came to affordable housing. ...

Curious to see how this plays out.


I think the tables will turn if and when gas prices get higher. Then, a lot of the "edge suburbs" will become ghost towns and eventually get turned into low-income housing by default. People with decent incomes will be paying money under the table to live in housing projects with good access to public transportation.


Huh? How expensive do you think gas would have to be to make people with decent incomes to move to the projects?

High gas prices suck, but people aren't going to take drastic life changing measures to save money. They might buy a fuel efficient car, drive less. or carpool, but they aren't going to pack up the kids and move to jersey city to save 200 bucks a month.

Posted on: 2008/7/8 14:28
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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Mount Laurel lead to an endless stream of cases similar to the following scenario:

1. A builder proposes a suburban development that requires a variance for the current zoning, often higher density than allowed by current zoning, or smaller lots, or in violation of slope laws, or on wetlands.
2. Local authority rejects zoning variance.
3. Builder returns with a new proposal that increases density with the addition of "low income" housing, and files a lawsuit claiming the town needs to fulfill its Mount Laurel low income housing requirement.
4. Courts decide in favor of the developer, and new development proceeds regardless of local zoning resulting in more sprawl.

While the goal of Mount Laurel was to evenly distribute poverty (rather than addressing the root causes of poverty) throughout the state, the actual result was a license to build unsustainable suburban developments in once rural communities without mass transit access, unable to support dramatic increases in population, harming the environment including sources of water for urban centers, and providing a debatable benefit to the impoverished.

With the power to pay for low income housing in cities (where most of the impoverished already reside), suburban communities were empowered to slow sprawl while providing a financial boost to cities already enduring financial hardships.

Posted on: 2008/7/8 14:07
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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I applaud the elimination of the RCA's which were just a ploy to avoid having "people like THEM" living amongst the richer genty.
A sidebar is that the money was funnelled into the inner cities and quietly disappeared into the either of crooked politics.

The moment Mount Laurel was declared the law of New Jersey, developers and wealthy communities immediately began to undermone it.

If a developer wants a tax break he needs to integrate poor and moderate income demographics into his new construction, and NOT by shuttling them into doghouses next door. For devvelopers who can raise their own money and pay their REAL taxes, then they can do as they please.

One must applaud Newport for getting it right...nobody else in Jersey City has (and nobody in Morris County has even TRIED.)

But then, this is the REAL world and developers and wealthy communities will quickly find other ways to discriminate!

Posted on: 2008/7/8 11:34
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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Ianmac you are absolutely right! .....I completely disagree with offsite affordable housing. I have nothing against low income housing but Bergen -Lafayette is getting bombarded from all angles with all these ugly cheap off -site affordable housing projects...just look at the Harriet Tubman project on MLK drive...it is horrible looking and frankly I am insulted.
I am also disappointed that the people of Lafayette allow Downtown to create "a tale of two cities" with the haves on one side (downtown) the Have -nots on the other.
They will hit resistance in future projects. If they owe COAH standard affordable then keep them inside the High rises the developers are building..
.Its great when people can co-mingle but unfortunately this is not the feeling of many people in Jersey City but as a community we need to let our voices be heard in city hall and at city council.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 18:24
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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Ianmac,

That is exactly my point. People should not be allowed to export or send the obligation elsewhere. Whether it is Toll Brothers sending it to some other locale in Jersey City or whether it is a municipality sending it to another municipality.

I agree with you about building in the burbs in general and think that this country made a wrong turn when it decided years ago to subsidize highway development into rural areas (now burbs) instead of investing in and improving inner cities. Thing is...I have the benefit of the past in my analysis. I dont know that I would've said the same thing if asked when these decisions were being made. I think a part of the reason this country moved in that direction at the time was because the US had a TON of undeveloped land and energy was dirt-cheap.

Tide may change as we become more aware of how our actions impact our environment and our future. But if the price of energy continues to go up we will def. change because MONEY is what we most clearly understand in this country.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 15:40
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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ValidQs....I think we have different ideologies on the role of people in a society. I think that as a member of a community/society it is my responsibility to help people who have less than I do. I also believe that it should be the larger society's responsibility to help its less fortunate citizens. Does it mean that I will be helping some people who are gaming the system? Yes. Does it mean I will be helping some idiots who had the same opportunities I had and squandered them? Yes. However even with that I believe that a society should not ignore its most vulnerable citizens and should try to help them to improve/change their situation. There will be people who are perpetually just taking from such a system but there will also be people who use the help to better their own life and the lives of current and future family members.

The thought of leaving poor people to fend for themselves in a capitalist society makes me very uncomfortable.

Capitalism supports the creation of wealth, it also supports the creation of poverty.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 15:29
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey
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ValidQs wrote:
These are the type of comments that might be funny if it wasn't so sad to know that people really buy into this silliness.

Mount Laurel housing and Abbott school districts are two examples of NJ's efforts to appear politically correct, to act as though we're doing something to improve people's lives when, in reality, things are only getting worse.

Things are getting worse because these programs do little or nothing to promote their claimed goals. The urban school districts continue to spend more money per pupil and provide less educational benefits. Even with state oversight these districts continue to spend money recklessly and the kids suffer.

Show me how Mount Laurel has changed anything in this state except taking more tax dollars from those who work and pay taxes.

God forbid we should ask the people who need the help to earn their way to a better life. If this approach helped one generation of our needy get ahead and then the next generation took advantage of that benefit and established themselves as educated, working, taxpaying citizens there would be a valid argument for continuing with these concepts. Instead we have spent decades and other peoples money (that's what taxes are) giving away temporary solutions like candy to the hungry. It's time to recognize that the same hard work and focus on education that got the suburban residents their better life will work for others. We just need to let them have the freedom to make it on their own instead of pretending they can't.

Or ease your conscience, keep taking other peoples' money and inventing phony solutions that sound right but don't work. This will be politically correct and a continuing failure.


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Posted on: 2008/6/30 15:19
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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The government should be discouraging suburban development, bottom line. Its environmentally unsustainable, regardless of the race of people living in suburbs. If you want to talk about actually helping people, maybe the state should have eliminated clauses that allow urban developments to build low income housing requirements off site.

Jersey City's biggest low income housing problem is not that there are too many poor people, but that there are too many poor people living too closely to other poor people.

For instance, whether or not you agree with the Toll Brothers proposal in the PAD, the biggest mistake of that proposal is allowing the construction of low income housing obligations off site. A small number of low income housing units interspersed between a large number of upper middle and upper income housing units will never generate the same problems as large scale housing projects do. You want to talk about racism, well, look no further than the city's approval of off site low income housing.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 15:14
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey
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These are the type of comments that might be funny if it wasn't so sad to know that people really buy into this silliness.

Mount Laurel housing and Abbott school districts are two examples of NJ's efforts to appear politically correct, to act as though we're doing something to improve people's lives when, in reality, things are only getting worse.

Things are getting worse because these programs do little or nothing to promote their claimed goals. The urban school districts continue to spend more money per pupil and provide less educational benefits. Even with state oversight these districts continue to spend money recklessly and the kids suffer.

Show me how Mount Laurel has changed anything in this state except taking more tax dollars from those who work and pay taxes.

God forbid we should ask the people who need the help to earn their way to a better life. If this approach helped one generation of our needy get ahead and then the next generation took advantage of that benefit and established themselves as educated, working, taxpaying citizens there would be a valid argument for continuing with these concepts. Instead we have spent decades and other peoples money (that's what taxes are) giving away temporary solutions like candy to the hungry. It's time to recognize that the same hard work and focus on education that got the suburban residents their better life will work for others. We just need to let them have the freedom to make it on their own instead of pretending they can't.

Or ease your conscience, keep taking other peoples' money and inventing phony solutions that sound right but don't work. This will be politically correct and a continuing failure.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 14:56
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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You are right about Mt. Laurel being a disaster. The execution has been disastrous but the basic point of the decision stands on its own merits. No town should be able to send their affordable housing obligations someplace else JUST because they dont want to build the units within their own borders. A policy like that does nothing but allows those with more financial means to push lower income people into areas like Newark, Jersey City, Trenton, Camden, Paterson, etc..thus creating islands of poverty in a sea of wealth. Those places were not desirable places in the 70's, 80's, 90's. Some of these places are starting to turn around now but I think that the financial "benefits" that these places got, while it did help some of these cities in the short-term, have not been good for these cities if you take a long-term view.

Take Trenton for example. The city is filled with more than its share of these units. Is it good that these people can find a place within the State to live? Yes. Is it good after more wealthy towns that surround Trenton have neglected their obligation that Trenton is able to do it because the other towns PAID them to do so? Yes. Have many of these cities become dependent on these payments? Yes. But today, Trenton is fighting a uphill battle trying to encourage middle-income families to move there, due to crime, quality of life, etc.. RCA's contributes to that because in this country any area with a HUGE percentage of poor people has significant challenges. That is the gift that RCA's has given to Trenton and the city will spend decades trying to correct it, if it ever does. The point is that RCA's should not be allowed in the first place because it goes against the basic premise of the Mt. Laurel decision and good public policy.

In much the same way that someone should not get away with murder because they are wealthy, I should not be able to ignore the court decision and State law simply because I have the money to do so. Allowing the laws to be applied in this manner would make this country no better than nations that we view with dismay as they operate with one set of rules for the wealthy and another set for everyone else.

RCA's have already done irreparable damage to many cities in NJ. It should've been challenged and stopped the first time a town or declining city tried to do it because the result is that poor people are lumped together in what were declining cities. In the short-term it may seem as if everyone benefits but in the long-term, RCA's do not help these cities and they def. do not help poor people to get out of poverty. A policy which in practice bundles NJ's poor into declining cities may sustain many mostly white suburbs, but bundling poor people together does not help them.

Question: Which is more important, keeping many suburbs mostly white or helping NJ residents who are most vulnerable?

Part of the legacy of RCA's is that although NJ is probably the most diverse state in the country it is also one of the most segregated. That is something this State should be utterly ashamed of.


That was way too long. Sorry.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 14:53
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey
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shakatah wrote:
btw...that article stinks of bias...


HaHa, do you think?


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Posted on: 2008/6/30 14:33
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey
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shakatah wrote:
Doesn't matter if it is more expensive for people who need affordable housing to live in the burbs. Whole point is that RCA's was a HUGE loophole in the Mt. Laurel decision and allowed the "not in my backyard" mantra when it came to affordable housing. ...

Curious to see how this plays out.


I think the tables will turn if and when gas prices get higher. Then, a lot of the "edge suburbs" will become ghost towns and eventually get turned into low-income housing by default. People with decent incomes will be paying money under the table to live in housing projects with good access to public transportation.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 14:26
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey
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shakatah wrote:
btw...that article stinks of bias...


HaHa, do you think?

Posted on: 2008/6/30 14:09
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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Mount Laurel was a disastrous public policy which fueled suburban sprawl and did little to create genuine low income housing. Often the result of the "builder's remedy" was sprawling McMansions with a small portion of "senior housing," which of course was great for all the suburbanites who now had a place to stick their aging parents.

The government should not be in the business of encouraging unsustainable lifestyles, and encouraging low income housing in suburban and quasi rural suburbs is unsustainable.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 13:59
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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btw...that article stinks of bias. I hope Mr. Ahearn was not using his current lense when he was editor of the Record. Then again, probably just an indication of who the Record is written for.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 13:53
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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Doesn't matter if it is more expensive for people who need affordable housing to live in the burbs. Whole point is that RCA's was a HUGE loophole in the Mt. Laurel decision and allowed the "not in my backyard" mantra when it came to affordable housing. As a result many nj burbs remained or became even more segregrated.

If I need affordable housing and there are laws on the books requiring towns to build units, I should have the choice of whether I want to live in the burbs and pay the extra dough to commute or in a city close to public transportation, etc. The town, any town, should not be able to exclude me simply by deciding not to build affordable units within its borders.

Curious to see how this plays out.

Posted on: 2008/6/30 13:34
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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The assumption though is that there is a benefit to putting low income housing in the suburbs. There isn't. Even if there is more affordable housing, other costs are higher, such as transportation. Travel by car is more expensive than mass transit, which is only really available in urban areas. Even commuter rail is more expensive than light rail or subway ridership.

Posted on: 2008/6/29 12:15
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Re: New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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It's about time.

Posted on: 2008/6/29 10:51
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New Jersey to stop affluent suburbs subsidizing low income housing in poorer cities like Jersey City
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Skeptical review for housing 'reform'

Sunday, June 29, 2008
By JAMES AHEARN
RECORD COLUMNIST

Roberts says that RCAs contribute to racial and economic segregation, with poor blacks in cities and well-to-do whites in suburbs.

NEW JERSEY is about to terminate an innovative procedure through which affluent suburbs subsidize new housing in struggling cities. The suburbs pay the cities to assume part of the suburbs' affordable-housing state quotas.

Everybody involved benefits. The suburbs benefit because they don't have to allow excessive development, depleting scarce open space. The cities benefit. The families who move into the new homes benefit. So do the developers who finance the housing and the carpenters and plumbers, masons and electricians who do the work.

In the two decades these "regional contribution agreements" have been permitted, 120 upper- and middle-class suburbs have sent $216 million to the cities, resulting in construction or rehabilitation of 10,400 housing units.

Fifty-three cities and older suburbs have received RCA money. They include, in North Jersey, Paterson, Garfield and Passaic. Paterson got nearly $8 million from Wayne for 455 units, at $17,500 a unit. Garfield received more than $3 million from various towns for 136 units.

Trenton has built an astounding 1,400 homes. Newark, Jersey City and New Brunswick have also benefited handsomely.

Any move to build housing on this scale in mostly developed suburbia would set off determined opposition. Nevertheless, the Legislature has passed and sent to Governor Corzine a bill to abolish RCAs. And the governor, who campaigned for election promising to build 100,000 affordable units, is likely to sign it. Why?

Because, in the words of the chief sponsor, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, a Camden Democrat, RCAs are "blood money." They let affluent towns pay to "make affordable housing go away."

That is not quite accurate. Such towns have a substantial remaining obligation to provide housing within their borders, equal to half of the original quotas. They can game the system, using various techniques to reduce that obligation, and reform is overdue. But it need not be total abolition. That is what is in prospect, however.

History

Some background: In 1975, the state Supreme Court set a national precedent in a case brought on behalf of poor black residents of Mount Laurel in Burlington County. It was then a largely rural township, but with mushrooming suburban development unaffordable to the plaintiffs, who lived in dilapidated shacks.

The court held, unanimously, that developing municipalities must make "realistically possible" their fair share of the regional need for housing affordable to low- and moderate-income families. However, not much happened for eight years. Then the court put teeth in its ruling.

It declared that towns could be required to adopt inclusionary ordinances, permitting developers to build at higher density than usual, in return for making 20 percent of the units affordable. And if towns didn't comply, developers would have a "builder's remedy" to compel action.

To head off criticism that it was meddling with issues customarily resolved through the political process, the court invited the Legislature to seize the initiative and pass a law dealing with these issues. It did so in 1985, creating a Council on Affordable Housing with rule-making power and, in a political compromise, authorizing regional contribution agreements.

The new law, including the RCA section, was upheld by the court. So RCAs have been approved not just by the Legislature, controlled then by Democrats, but by the governor at the time, Thomas Kean, a Republican, and by the Supreme Court, whose chief justice was the formidable Robert Wilentz, a Democrat.

Segregation force

Now Speaker Roberts says that RCAs are intrinsically flawed, that they contribute to racial and economic segregation, with poor blacks in cities and well-to-do whites in suburbs.

The bill to abolish RCAs passed the Assembly with four votes to spare, on a largely party-line vote, with all Republicans opposed. In the Senate, it passed last week by the minimum 21 votes, all cast by Democrats.

What might seem surprising is that Democratic members of the Legislative Black Caucus, representing cities that have benefited from RCAs, voted to end them. There is a reason. The bill included the first of what is promised to be annual, $20 million appropriations for urban housing.

The money will come from a big new fee to be imposed on all commercial development in the state to finance affordable housing. At 2.5 percent of the value of each such project, if the fee had been in effect last year, it would have raised $163 million.

The state League of Municipalities contends that $20 million will fall far short of what is needed to replace RCAs. Six months ago, the Council on Affordable Housing raised the minimum regional contribution to $70,000 per unit, up from $35,000. At $70,000, construction or rehabilitation of 520 units a year (the 20-year RCA average) would net the cities $36.4 million.

Further, the bill will replace arm's-length negotiations by municipal equals with decisions made in Trenton by politicians and a whole new housing bureaucracy. This does not look like progress.

James Ahearn is a contributing editor and former managing editor of The Record.
Page 1 2 >> Fit story on 1 page

Roberts says that RCAs contribute to racial and economic segregation, with poor blacks in cities and well-to-do whites in suburbs.

NEW JERSEY is about to terminate an innovative procedure through which affluent suburbs subsidize new housing in struggling cities. The suburbs pay the cities to assume part of the suburbs' affordable-housing state quotas.

Everybody involved benefits. The suburbs benefit because they don't have to allow excessive development, depleting scarce open space. The cities benefit. The families who move into the new homes benefit. So do the developers who finance the housing and the carpenters and plumbers, masons and electricians who do the work.

In the two decades these "regional contribution agreements" have been permitted, 120 upper- and middle-class suburbs have sent $216 million to the cities, resulting in construction or rehabilitation of 10,400 housing units.

Fifty-three cities and older suburbs have received RCA money. They include, in North Jersey, Paterson, Garfield and Passaic. Paterson got nearly $8 million from Wayne for 455 units, at $17,500 a unit. Garfield received more than $3 million from various towns for 136 units.

Trenton has built an astounding 1,400 homes. Newark, Jersey City and New Brunswick have also benefited handsomely.

Any move to build housing on this scale in mostly developed suburbia would set off determined opposition. Nevertheless, the Legislature has passed and sent to Governor Corzine a bill to abolish RCAs. And the governor, who campaigned for election promising to build 100,000 affordable units, is likely to sign it. Why?

(Click below to read the rest of this long article)
http://www.northjersey.com/news/njpolitics/22577014.html

Posted on: 2008/6/29 6:09
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