NJ affordable housing bill heads to governor’s desk

NJ affordable housing bill heads to governor’s desk
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TRENTON, N.J. (PIX11) – A bill heading to the desk of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy would bring change to the state’s affordable housing system.

“This bill is about so many people who call our office every day looking for housing options and opportunities, and frankly there’s just not enough of them,” said Sen. Troy Singleton (D-NJ 7th District), the bill’s sponsor.

The bill will create a process to have municipalities determine how much affordable housing they need to build based on new formulas. It will also abolish the Council on Affordable Housing, an agency that has long been defunct.

“The more inventory we create, that will put a downward pressure on pricing,” said Singleton. “That downward pressure on pricing affects the entire housing ecosystem.”

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Other lawmakers feel the bill will be a disaster for municipalities.

“It requires towns to continually update their number and their process. It’s going to cost taxpayers a lot of money to comply with this new legislation,” said Republican Senate Minority Leader Anthony Bucco (R-NJ 25th District), who has concerns that towns might find they don’t have enough room to build, affecting open space and farmland.

“We don’t even know how many units it’s going to demand be built,” said Bucco, “and what we don’t know is whether or not the state can even absorb that number of units.”

Several mayors have spoken favorably of the bill, such as Passaic Mayor Hector Lora, who is traveling to Washington to discuss affordable housing.

“It is very clear that increased access to affordable housing is the most effective method to reduce childhood poverty and increase economic mobility in the United States of America, and especially in New Jersey,” said Lora.

Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch also supports the legislation. “It’s incredibly important that municipalities have the opportunity to define their own legacy,” Busch told PIX11 News. “I think there has been, for too long, so much that has gotten in the way of good housing policy and at the same time restricting municipalities and their ability to do what’s right.”

The next round of New Jersey’s affordable housing obligations will come in July 2025.

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