To the editor:
A significant threat to the quality of life in Hillsborough today, in my opinion, are the many unelected judges of the New Jersey court system, who in 2015 were put in charge of deciding how many “affordable housing units” each NJ town is required to build.
COAH, the Council on Affordable Housing, had until November 2014 to come up with new guidelines, as directed by the New Jersey Supreme Court. But COAH didn’t get it done. Advocates for affordable housing then brought a lawsuit, asking to transfer affordable housing regulations from the council (COAH) to the courts. In March 2015 the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed, and unelected judges have been setting unrealistic affordable housing unit requirements on towns across New Jersey ever since.
To be clear, some affordable housing is good, but what we are seeing throughout New Jersey is unreasonable and excessive.
This issue does not only impact Hillsborough, which has gone over and above to meet its obligations. Other nearby towns who also oppose housing requirements being set by the courts includes Montgomery, Hopewell, East Windsor, Hamilton, South Brunswick and Branchburg. The unrealistic requirements will overwhelm township infrastructures, leading to higher taxes, and will burden the school systems across all of these towns.
Democratic Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker says it’s not a partisan issue, but even it if it were not, his delay in speaking out strongly against these requirements will have negative impacts on the quality of life of middle class residents of suburban New Jersey, by over-populating these towns and burdening them with unnecessary development, with no regard for what each town itself wants.
I’m not sure if Republicans can win the Governor’s seat, but they better win the Somerset County seats up for grabs! There is a chance that the State Legislature can return the decision making on affordable housing back to COAH. But it won’t happen without good people like Kip Bateman (Senate), Donna Simon and Mark Caliguire (Assembly), and Gloria McCauley and Doug Tomson (Hillsborough Township Committee), here in Hillsborough, to win, so they can fight our fight. If they don’t win, our suburban towns will be unrecognizable in 10 years. For suburban Hillsborough, and all of Central New Jersey, please vote Republican this Election Day.