Below I have taken the New Jersey Assembly Democrats “Facts” which I consider Fiction and added what I consider to the be the real Facts for the suburban taxpayers of New Jersey.
Fact: A-500 will add a huge financial burden to the middle class taxpayers of New Jersey and works hand in hand with COAH’s third round rules to add additional costs to an already unfair and unbalanced affordable housing system in New Jersey.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “COAH’s revised third-round regulations are entirely separate from A-500 and were not voted on by the Legislature. COAH’s latest rules increased the affordable housing ratios from one affordable unit for every eight market-rate units to one affordable unit for every four market-rate units for residential construction and from one affordable unit for every 25 jobs created to one affordable unit for every 16 jobs created for nonresidential construction. These ratios were adopted by COAH in early June 2008 and are unrelated to A-500.”
Fact: A-500 will add additional bureaucracy through a new State Agency called the State Housing Commission which will then administer the new affordable housing trust fund which will acquire its funding through a 2.5% tax on New Jersey Business development. According to many experts this new tax on New Jersey business will not be enough to cover new affordable housing costs which will then burden already financially stressed suburban communities to make up the difference. As a result A-500 adds unfair and unneeded taxes all while growing the size of State Government.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “A-500 will make development costs more manageable and predictable than the current COAH framework. Currently, developer fees are negotiated on a town-by-town basis, and can add as much as 10 percent to the cost of a project. Such fees threaten to impede economic development across the state. That is why A-500 implements a flat, statewide 2.5 percent fee. According to the Office of Legislative Services, this fee is expected to generate approximately $164 million annually.”
Fact: Through this new legislation the New Jersey Democrats have pandered to the Home Builders of New Jersey, Local Trade Unions, and other special interest groups all at great cost to the middle class suburban tax payers of New Jersey. Any new fees and estimates which are used to calculate a towns “Fair Share” and “Cost” is unrealistic and the numbers used have no merit and leave local municipalities with no option other then costly litigation at this time to fight this unjust legislation.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “Municipalities have a multitude of options at their disposal to meet their affordable housing obligations, many of which cost a town little or no money. By offering density bonuses and increased set asides, towns can make it possible for private developers to completely subsidize the cost of constructing significant numbers of affordable housing units. Municipalities also can extend expiring affordability controls on already existing affordable housing, at little or no cost. Moreover, COAH offers a package of bonus credits to towns for a variety of housing units, including previously constructed projects. It is estimated that roughly $150 million derived from developer fees sits idle in municipal affordable housing trust funds statewide. Towns can use this money to “buy down” for-sale, market rate units – a process that can cost as little as $20,000 per unit, substantially less than the cost of constructing an entirely new home. Accessory apartments – such as those over a garage or in the ground-floor of a house – also count toward a town’s COAH obligation and can cost as little as $20,000 per unit, too.”
Fact: The new A-500 legislation goes against years of smart growth and planning by suburban municipalities in which farm and open space preservation have been achieved.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “A-500 recognizes that certain regions of the state may not be right for high-density development. Under A-500, municipalities located in the Highlands, Pinelands, Meadowlands, and Fort Monmouth and Atlantic City areas will be able to coordinate to provide affordable housing based upon regional concerns. This will allow the proper balance to be struck with regard to environmental considerations and accessibility to public transportation.”
Fact: The A-500 legislation does way with Regional Contribution Agreements which have allowed suburban municipalities to achieve smart growth and allow for open space preservation all while at the same time sending affordable housing dollars to where they are needed. By sending affordable housing dollars to the urban areas of New Jersey where people with affordable housing would have access to mass transportation and access to jobs in areas served by mass transportation.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “A-500 will codify COAH’s vacant land adjustment, which allows towns with a lack of available, developable land to have their affordable housing obligations lowered. COAH regulations currently allow towns to apply for a vacant land adjustment. Memorializing the vacant land adjustment in state law will ensure this tool will continue to assist towns in complying with their obligations. COAH also offers towns the option of applying for durational adjustments, which temporarily absolve towns of affordable housing obligations based on insufficient water and sewer until such infrastructure becomes available.”
Fact: A-500 was ONLY supported by the Democratic Party of New Jersey and their political supporters, specifically Trade Unions, Builders, lobbyists and Democratic Party operatives all who will all have personal financial gain through this legislation.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “A-500 was actively supported by a diverse coalition of mayors, realtors and developers, building and construction trade unions, faith-based organizations, housing advocates, environmentalists, planners, and the business community. All of these groups realized the importance of policy that reinforces the constitutional responsibility of towns to comply with their affordable housing obligations. Equally as important, these stakeholders realized the benefit sound housing policy could have for growing the state’s economy and creating good jobs.”
Fact: A-500 in combination with the new COAH third round rules place impossible to obtain affordable housing goals on the suburban municipalities of New Jersey. Further the Democratic Leadership in New Jersey intends to fast track all obligations to be settled by December 31, 2008 in an effort to force the suburban municipalities of New Jersey to comply.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “A-500 recognizes that many municipalities have been assigned unrealistic affordable housing obligations under COAH’s revised third round rules. That is why the codification of the vacant land adjustment is essential to giving COAH and municipalities the tools they need to manage the impact of the revised third-round rules. ”
Fact: A-500 and COAH’s third round rules go against all smart growth plans which the State of New Jersey has developed to this point in time.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “DCA Commissioner Doria has launched an important effort to revise the State Plan. One of the primary goals of the State Plan is to reconcile differences and conflicts in DCA and DEP regulations, particularly as they relate to the construction of housing and waste-water rules. A draft plan is expected to be unveiled in September, with six public hearings to be held throughout October and November, and final adoption by the State Planning Commission this December. ”
Fact: A-500 is a mandate from the Democratic party of New Jersey which will not be changed unless challenged through the court systems at great cost to the taxpayers first from the cost to their suburban municipalities and then as a double whammy then these same suburban taxpayers are forced to foot the states legal bills.
Fiction (New Jersey Assembly Democrats say): “The administration and Assembly and Senate leadership will hold a series of meetings over the coming months with key stakeholders to receive input on round-three concerns. Together, we will address concerns without comprising the constitutional obligation that every town has to provide affordable housing.”
(Fiction Source: New Jersey Assembly Democrats New Release from,