NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council discussed what actions the borough should take in order to express its concern regarding the affordable housing mandate at the Monday, March 25 meeting. Councilman Robert Robinson pondered whether the council should pen a resolution to Trenton in order to let the legislators to know what consequences the borough could face as a result of the court ruling regarding the high density housing mandate.
Robertson reasoned the action with the fact that the borough had encouraged its residents to voice their dissatisfaction with the mandate. He explained that such a resolution could have signatures from the Board of Education as well. He noted that this was also Mayor Al Morgan’s idea.
Council President Michael Gennaro noted that the court decision is based on constitutional law, therefore the legislative branch must adhere to it until changes in the constitution are implemented. However, he said he would support such a resolution provided that it has the “right wording.” “As we have seen the courts have very specific views on affordable housing,” he said. This is a much broader problem than asking our legislative branch to do something, he added. He pointed out that the Borough Attorney should look into such a correspondence and advise the council with proper wording.
Robinson said that the governing body is asking the residents to reach out to the legislature, so therefore the municipalities should also make the Assembly and Senate aware of the potential consequences that the court ruling may cause. Could we realistically do this as a governing body? he asked.
Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy pointed out that after the March 18 affordable housing meeting, the governing body was trying to come up with a list of names to contact and what residents should say in their correspondence. She explained that she had discussed the issue with someone in Assembyman Bramnick’s office. The person provided bullet points for residents to use in their correspondence with the state officials.
Geoffroy also explained that there are some bills that the legislators are planning to introduce at the Assembly. One of them is a constitutional amendment stating that all affordable housing decisions should be made by the legislature. Other possible bills that would help towns include that the affordable housing be based on need, not numbers. The bill stating that the affordable housing requirement be statewide, not town-centered; and the bill to call for a two-year moratorium on high density housing are ready to be introduced, but so far has not been acted upon.