Real Estate

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick Urges State Legislature to Solve Affordable Housing Issues

1a41cc9ff79147b66bd3_IMG_4276.JPG
Hartz Mountain Industries is attempting to rezone and develop 905 apartment units at 750 Walnut Avenue in Cranford, which is currently a commercial zone. Credits: Elizabeth Clee
09c39380640ebd419a29_tile-bramnick.jpg
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick Credits: New Jersey Assembly Republicans
1a41cc9ff79147b66bd3_IMG_4276.JPG

TRENTON, NJ – Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) is calling for a special state legislature session to solve the issues in communities that are caused by affordable housing laws.

In January, the state Supreme Court ruled that municipalities must include affordable housing. If the municipality is not meeting the affordable housing quota, it can be sued by builders for the right to build more units on a specific plot in exchange for including affordable housing, Bramnick said.

“We have the wild, wild west right now,” Bramnick said. “Builders are suing municipalities and municipalities are confused. if you call any municipality and ask if it's clear what their affordable housing law is, it's not clear. For years, the legislature hasn't addressed it and the courts aren't setting a precedent. That happens anytime the law is unclear.”

Sign Up for E-News

Last month, Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso presented the town council with a resolution demanding that state legislators address the current affordable housing rules before local municipalities are overloaded.

“You can overcrowd the town, you can burden the infrastructure of the town, you can most definitely burden the school system,” Bonaccorso said. “You try to fix a low-income housing option so you destroy the school systems with overcrowding instead.”

In Cranford, residents are vehemently opposing a proposal by Hartz Mountain Industries to build 905 apartment units, with a percentage designated for affordable housing, on 750 Walnut Avenue, which is currently a commercial zone.

New buildings are popping up throughout Westfield as well, but Bramnick said he hasn’t been looking at those as closely.

“I’m clearly paying attention to Cranford,” Bramnick said. “My opinion is that the state legislature should make clear and concise rules as to when the court can rezone a commercial zone. Most residents don't want high density housing in a space that is zoned commercial.”

Bramnick said that bringing back regional contribution agreements is the first step the state legislature should take. Under those agreements, a municipality could transfer part of their affordable housing obligation to a willing town, normally an urban area, along with payment.

“I would put back in regional contribution agreements,” Bramnick said. “Many urban centers need gentrification and are willing to take on projects where there’s transportation and already dense housing.”

In addition, the legislators need to create clear and cut guidelines for municipal responsibilities, Bramnick said. Surveyors will include parks and other spaces of land in their reports when looking for buildable land, he said.

“The legislature should set forth exact and clear cut guidelines as to what responsibilities are for affordable housing,” Bramnick said. ‘Right now, there's real confusion as to what land is available.”

Bramnick said that this is not a partisan issue, but one that needs to be addressed urgently.

“There’s no Democrat that represents a municipality that thinks the system is working right now,” he said. “There's been tension between Governor Chris Christie and the legislature, but there's tension on everything. We need to get into a room and debate it. Unless someone calls for a special session or a crisis hits, I'm not sure that the Senate president or the speaker will call for hearings this summer.”

Bramnick said he thinks the legislature needs to stay in one room until the issue is resolved.

“I would have nonstop hearings,” he said. “I would be there until we fix it. I don't want the courts imposing high-density housing in towns where the legislature has abdicated the responsibility to the courts.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Manutti Marina in Belmar: Top Choice for Boating, Fishing and All-Around Family Fun

June 12, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — It’s no secret that Belmar Manutti Marina ranks among the best boating destinations along the Atlantic coast.

Tucked along the eastern shoreline of the idyllic Shark River — just a five-minute trip by boat to the ocean — the state-of-the-art marina is a top choice among boaters looking to stay for the season, enjoy a vacation or spend the weekend.

In ...

Manutti Marina in Belmar: Top Choice for Boating, Fishing and All-Around Family Fun

June 12, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — It’s no secret that Belmar Manutti Marina ranks among the best boating destinations along the Atlantic coast.

Tucked along the eastern shoreline of the idyllic Shark River — just a five-minute trip by boat to the ocean — the state-of-the-art marina is a top choice among boaters looking to stay for the season, enjoy a vacation or spend the weekend.

In ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

June 18, 2018

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Dear Editor:

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Terrill Road Baptist Chruch, Scotch Plains

Terrill Road Baptist Church

WHRHS Athletics: 30 Watchung Hills Student Athletes Commit to Play College Sports

June 13, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Some 30 student athletes from the Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) Class of 2018 gathered  in the WHRHS Media Center for one last Warrior team photo before reporting to their intended respective colleges or universities in the fall.

Columbia, Yale and Princeton, Stevens, Rensselaer and M.I.T. are among some 27 other Division I, II, or III colleges ...

North Plainfield Board of Education Recognizes Student Athletes

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The North Plainfield Board of Education had the opportunity to celebrate the victories of the district's distinguished student athletes at the last Board of Education meeting.  Brandon Smith, Daniel Duncan, Trevor Sullivan, and Edgardo Villafane represented the Boys' Indoor Track Team.  The team was victorious as the New Jersey North II, Group II ...

Watchung’s Rizzi Ties Record at Rotary Track and Field Meet, North Plainfield Middle School Dominates in Awards Tally

PLAINFIELD, NJ - With an overcast sky and pleasantly cool temperatures, young student athletes from area middle schools and one elementary school gathered for the 91st Annual Rotary Track and Field Meet, held June 6 at the Hub Stine Athletic Complex in Plainfield.

Vincent Rizzi, holder of the Meet high jump records for boys ages 12 and 13, tried valiantly to best the 14 year old boys’ ...

North Plainfield Board of Education Recognizes 2018 Teachers of the Year

 

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - North Plainfield School District's Teachers  of the Year were recognized at the Board of Education meeting on June 5, at West End School.  The evening began at 7:00 pm with a performance by the High School Jazz Band.  Opening remarks, made by  Human Resources Director, Phyllis Prestamo and Acting Superintendent ...

SCBP Biz Fest 2018 Draws Record Crowd

June 17, 2018

SOMERSET, NJ - More than 500 people attended Biz Fest 2018, Somerset County's ‘hyper-local’ trade show and networking event, on Thursday at the Imperia.

The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) organized the event.  SCBP Vice President of Business Services Chris Edwards said that this year's Biz Fest was a huge success. 

"This has been ...

Update: Police Break Up Fight Involving 40-50 People at Bridgewater Commons Mall

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported in an incident that shut down Bridgewater Commons Mall Thursday evening after a fight involving a crowd of 40-50 people.

Police are still investigating unconfirmed reports of shots being fired, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

The mall is closed for the evening as the investigation continues.

Somerset County ...