Friday, April 04, 2008

Morehead pens letter about COAH

The Inside Clamdigger received a letter from Middletown resident Matthew Morehead, a young man who is chairing the Bayshore Young Dems Group. Thank you, Mr. Morehead, for sending in a letter, please keep them coming.

April 3, 2008

P.O.C. Matthew Morehead
Chairman- Monmouth County Bayshore Young Democrats
639 West Front St.
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Phone: (732) 693-1904

The Real Facts About Middletown And COAH

To the Editor:

The facts that Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and Steven Lonegan of Americans for Prosperity NJ are leaving out of their misleading rhetoric is that Middletown has around 260 units of affordable housing that it has not built from round one and two of its COAH obligation. Middletown has only completed 88 units of new housing, 122 rehabs of existing housing and has signed RCAs for 649 units of housing at $12.1 million going to other municipalities. This leaves a sizeable surplus from poor performance for the last 20 years.

At the rate that Middletown is going it will not meet its constitutional obligation by 2018. This is the real reason that Mayor Scharfenberger and his majority are worried about the “third round” obligation in my opinion. Middletown’s “gated community” approach to its affordable housing obligation has failed the town and its residents as well, do to the fact that if we do not meet our obligation we loose our protection under the FHA of 1985. This will mean that anyone wishing to develop, or in need of housing, will be able to sue Middletown, which will mean rapidly rising legal fees and rising property taxes for the residents of Middletown.

As for these mandates being unfunded, it is not true in my opinion. The federal and state governments have funds set up to relieve municipalities that build the housing in their communities. On the other hand, the municipalities who sign RCAs to get rid of their portion of affordable housing do not get to benefit from these funds, which in turn puts a heavy burden on tax payers. There is also a burden placed on residents by not having the housing in Middletown for our young adults starting out in life and our seniors who are facing rising costs on a fixed income.

In conclusion, is Middletown’s “gated community” approach to COAH in the best interest of Middletown’s residents or in the best interest of the majority of the governing body?

Matthew Morehead
Chairman- Monmouth County Bayshore Young Democrats
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1 comment:

bestonline323 said...

Middletown has an affordable housing obligation of 2,160 units that would have to be built by 2018.

"We are over 90 percent built out," Scharfenberger said. "We are trying to maintain some open space and some character in town. This will annihilate that, this will end it all. Every shred of open space will have to be considered for this enormous quota."

Scharfenberger said that once the governor signs the bill, the legislation would have a lasting effect.

"Once this happens, there is no going back," Scharfenberger said. "You can't look back 10 years from now and say, 'Gee, that was a mistake.' "

Surenian said the governor needs to carefully read over the legislation before signing it

"I challenge the governor to take a look at this legislation and to really analyze the economic ramifications of this legislation before he signs it," Surenian said.

"I submit to you that this will be an economic disaster for this state. The reason that I say it is because when you look at the tools available for you to meet your constitutional responsibility, COAH has a laundry list."

He said that RCAs are a very useful tool to fulfill affordable housing responsibilities and legislation banning them will hurt municipalities.

"These are all ticking time bombs," Surenian said. "The days are going to come where the builders are going to try to get funding for these projects, and it was very competitive before these regulations. It's clear that the majority will not get funded."

Surenian said that he sees COAH as a sinking ship.

"We all need to wake up now before it's too late," Surenian said, "before the Titanic sails off into the ocean."


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