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

Springfield

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 20, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Memorial Day Service

May 11, 2018

To the residents of Springfield:

Memorial Day was established in 1868 specifically to honor those who had lost their lives in service to their country in the Civil War. It customarily now honors all our war dead from that date on. The township memorials are located on the green at the Municipal Building. Until fairly recently, the annual Memorial Day parade began with a service on the green, ...

Close to 700 Riders Take to the Streets for 15th Annual Tour de Elizabeth

May 21, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - Approximately 700 cyclists of every skill level took to the streets for the 15th annual Tour de Elizabeth that rolled throughout the city on Sunday morning. 

This year’s tour that is open to all ages, was a 15-mile recreational tour of the City of Elizabeth’s historic neighborhoods, beginning and ending at City Hall.

Members of the Elizabeth Police ...

Bee Day at Hanson Park!!

May 19, 2018

Please join the Hanson Park Conservancy on Saturday, June 23rd for Bee Day at Hanson Park!  At 2:00 PM Grant Stiles from Stiles Honey will be sharing his knowledge of bees with his presentation, “Fundamentals of Beekeeping and the Importance of Honey Bees in Our Society.”  Bring your blankets and chairs and enjoy the beautiful surroundings as Mr. Stiles answers all of your ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, May 25, 8:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Open Mic Night

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, May 30, 6:15 PM

Millburn High School (Back grass fields), Millburn

Millburn Color Run

Arts & Entertainment Education Giving Back Other