November 18,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hillsdale NJ, Ballot questions were overwhelmingly approved in four Bergen County towns, Residents in Hillsdale, Park Ridge and River Vale voted this month in support of non-binding questions that called for the towns to stop issuing permits for large-scale housing projects until statewide affordable-housing rules are established. Dumont voters also approved a question that asked if the state Legislature should make appointments to the Council on Affordable Housing board and amend the Fair Housing Act. In each case residents voted against forced overdevelopment, did not want high-density apartments in their towns,  and they particularly reject high-density apartments built because of builder’s remedy lawsuits.

In 2015, the state Supreme Court ruled that municipalities should bypass the non-functioning Council on Affordable Housing and go directly to trial court judges to determine their affordable-housing obligations. Since then, many towns have been involved in costly litigation involving the Fair Share Housing Center, an affordable-housing advocacy group, to determine how many units of low- to moderate-income housing they constitutionally must provide.

Fair Share Housing has been accused of setting affordable-housing numbers that are unrealistic in relation to the ability of the town to absorb such significant housing levels. The fact is with housing comes infrastructure, police, fire, schools, sewage and water . Many politicians have referred to the Fair Housing Act as the “developers full employment act”

Local lawmakers are hoping Trenton is listening . Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, drafted the questions passed in Hillsdale, Park Ridge and River Vale. Schepisi, R-River Vale, has been at the forefront of efforts to come up with a statewide affordable-housing solution. She believes there is a more responsible way to meet obligations to provide low- to moderate-income housing and has been covered on this blog extensively .