Government

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

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9dfe479f2225ac340f97_dinosaurs

Tue, June 19, 6:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Field Station Dinosaurs

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_a06540d90fee040ea766_storymakers_june

Wed, June 20, 4:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Story Makers

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, June 20, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

The Masterwork Chorus Launches 19th Summer Sing ...

Arts & Entertainment

Local at-risk youth celebrate year of achievements at Community Access Unlimited

June 18, 2018

Community Access Unlimited (CAU) last night celebrated the achievements of a number of at-risk youth who are members of the agency's Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP). Each of these youth are within New Jersey's child services system and faced a number of life challenges before coming to CAU and TOP and since then have made significant progress in plotting a brighter future with ...

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 9, 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 ...

North Plainfield Mom Maggie Grabko Gets Life-Saving Liver Transplant, Warren Fundraiser Set for Sunday

June 18, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ — Maggie Grabko, a North Plainfield mom of two, underwent a successful liver transplant on June 13, according to an update on the family’s GoFundMe page by her husband, Shawn Grabko. The Watchung Hills Elks are hosting a fundraiser, the Maggie Grabko Dinner and Music Fundraiser, at 1 Elks Trail in Warren on June ...

SRO'S - ENSEÑANDO POR EJEMPLO

June 17, 2018

Hay un grupo de oficiales de policía que les dan un servicio a nuestra comunidad de una manera notable. Todos los días estos hombres y mujeres se levantan, van al trabajo, y aseguran que nuestros hijos aprendan en un ambiente seguro. Los llamamos Oficiales de Recursos Escolares, pero son mucho más. 

Si llegas a la oficina de los Oficiales de Recursos Escolares en la ...

Empleando Nuestra Juventud 

Querido Plainfield, 

Todos esperan el verano; los días son más calientes y largos, y la madre tierra se pone su mejor vestido mientras las frutas se maduran en el sol y las flores ondean un alegre "hola". La gente comienzan los paseos de la playa o piscina, y las juntas de barbacoa en los patios son necesarios en los fines de semanas.

Aquí en la ciudad de ...

Meet Toran Smith: Union County All Star

June 18, 2018

Plainfield resident, Toran Smith, age 16, has been selected to play on the 2018 Union County underclassmen all star team.  On June 10th, the Union County All-Stars played against the Hudson County All-Stars at Kean University.  Smith played third baseman. 

Smith, a junior at Union County Vo-Tech magnet high school, is a Junior infielder on the Plainfield Cardinals Varsity ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)

 

I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...