Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Beat Goes On

Sounds good, right? “… the task force is trying to develop a game plan for affordable as well as low, moderate and workforce priced housing in New Jersey in accord with the governor’s desire to create 100,000 affordable units in New Jersey within a decade,” (as per DCA Spokesperson Chris Donnelly, regarding The Housing Policy Task Force to the DCA, Department of Community Affairs).

Well, this would sound good to me-- developing affordable housing in this great unaffordable housing state of our nation, the nation brought forth to midwife the dreams of a decent life to those willing to work for it. It was too good to be true, alas.

For me it is like an anomaly in the harmony of nature when the ultra liberal New York Times sacrifices some of the precious real estate of its editorial pages to criticize the recommendations of The Housing Policy Task Force to the DCA on a project like affordable housing as “…a blueprint for rolling back environmental protections and allowing greater traffic congestion…”

The "Times" continues with, “The task force recommended, among other things, permitting sewer lines to be laid in environmentally fragile areas and making it easier for builders to construct access roads from their developments that empty directly into main roads, slowing traffic. The recommendations would also make it easier to build homes close to rivers and streams and even in flood hazard areas.”

The task force was assembled by Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Joe Doria who chose such neutral members as the Land Use Committee, which is chaired by the head of the Builders’ Association. So the results were predictable. The big winners here again are, neither you nor me, but builders and developers, our 21st century NJ aristocracy.

Perfect. Just perfect. A task force that recommends projects to give us more traffic congestion and flooding. Exactly what we in NJ need, more flooding, and more taxes to pay aid to flood victims. The beat goes on here in the good old Garden State.

As the “politickernj” comments suggest--- why not set about to redevelop some of our dilapidated cities instead of focusing on land that does not need or cannot support new development? Here's a starting place for that task force that ought to be marched back to the drawing board to develop some responsible and common sense plans to benefit NJ residents as opposed to the privileged few. We are right to expect some competency in lieu of greed.

Stay tuned.

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