CRANFORD - Residents concerned about affordable housing mandates being imposed by the courts had a chance to share their thoughts with Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi.
Bramnick, the Republican representative from the 21st district and Schepisi, the Republican representative from the 39th district, held a town hall meeting at the Roy Smith Theater at Union County College on Tuesday night.
"The system now is broken. It's bad, it's expensive, and it doesn't work," said Bramnick. "
Before taking questions, Bramnick and Schepisi spoke on many aspects of affordable housing such as the failure of legislators to legislate and where the courts come in.
"If you have land in a town and someone wants to build on that land, the courts will now decide how many units will go on that piece of property," said Bramnick. "That is absurb. This is not a place for the courts. Courts don't make public policy. Your elected officials make public policy."
Bramnick and Schepisi, both republicans, said that democrats in charge of the state legislature are "very happy" with the courts imposing high density housing in communities.
"They're going to blame Chris Christie. They're going to blame Don Difrancesco. They may blame Woodrow Wilson," said Bramnick. "But the point is right now, tomorrow, the legislature could meet and they could stop all court action through a moratorium and decide how we deal with affordable housing. They are not doing it. There is no other side to that argument."
Bramnick believes a solution could be regional affordable housing as opposed to town by town. By making it regional, you can choose the best locations possible rather than forcing developments into unfavorable areas.
Currently, Cranford residents are fighting back against an application to build 905 apartment units at 750 Walnut Avenue. Many's fears are centered around the impact on traffic, the schools, and the community. Witnesses for Hartz Mountain have testified that the project would add 1,622 residents to the town and between 110-135 students to the school district. The application will be in front of the planning board again on Wednesday, March 6.