Category Archives: RCA’s

Democrats on right side of affordable housing debate; Republicans only offer re-establishment of regional contribution agreements

The following commentary appeared in today’s Asbury Park Press and was written by Vincent Solomeno. Vincent is a life long bayshore area resident and a Monmouth County Democratic committeeman from Hazlet.

For those of you who do not know Vincent, he was named one of “50 Rising Stars in New Jersey Politics” by Politicker New Jersey, he has managed or worked on local, state, and national campaigns. He has worked for Congressman Frank Pallone.

In 2006, Vincent became a Truman Scholar and in 2007, he was selected as a J. William Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands where he earned a Master of Arts in European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. A Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG), he is a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve and is training to become a Combat Engineer. 

So when Vincent has an opinion about something it’s worth listening to, he is not some loony liberal trying to push mandates down our throats. He is an extremely intelligent and distinguished member of the Monmouth County community who’s thoughts and ideas  should be considered:

Democrats must be able to transform the statewide mandate of the Council on Affordable Housing or else be ready for Republican criticism that may diminish Democratic support among suburban voters.

Ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan recently traveled to Freehold to stump for votes in his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor. He likened his campaign to the American Revolution and compared Gov. Jon Corzine and the Democratic majorities in the Legislature to the tyrants of Europe and Asia.

The 21st-century Gen. George Washington continued with a blistering attack on COAH and promised that, when the general election is through, the self-financed Corzine will be living in one of the program’s 40,000 units.

November’s election not only will determine who occupies the front office in the state Capitol. It will test New Jersey Republicans’ ability to make inroads into the Democrats’ legislative majority. Unless Democrats present a compelling narrative for affordable housing, COAH and its cumbersome regulations have the potential to unite the feuding factions of the GOP and erase Democratic gains in suburban battlegrounds.

From a policy perspective, the need for affordable housing remains as clear today as it was when the Supreme Court ordered state action on the issue in 1984. According to the U.S. Census, New Jerseyans pay 30 percent or more of their income for housing, the fourth highest percentage in the nation. However, members of both parties recognize that in its current form, COAH often results in continued overdevelopment and an increase in property taxes.

Democrats in the Legislature have indicated their willingness to take on the challenge. As chairman of the Economic Growth Committee, Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, introduced legislation (S2485) that directs the state Housing Commission to consider the impact of its assessments on local property taxes.

Lesniak also wants COAH to provide housing not only to low-income individuals, but to those in the middle class who do not qualify for the program but nonetheless struggle with New Jersey’s high cost of living. Called “work-force” housing, the change would allow individuals such as secretaries, firefighters and recent college graduates to qualify for assistance.

In his recent State of the State address, Corzine indicated his willingness to “allow for maximum flexibility and ample time for collaborative review” of affordable housing plans. The governor and Democrats will face the challenge of articulating the need for COAH regulations to a public leery of continued development.

Affordable housing may be an issue that Republicans can use to their advantage, but thus far they have offered no policy alternative other than S2292, a bill re-establishing the regional contribution agreements that circumvented the intent of affordable housing in the first place. Their advocacy of a return to the failed status quo does nothing to address the real problem.

New Jersey is a “blue” state and New Jersey Republicans are a party rife with ideological divisions. Criticism of COAH presents them with an issue they can rally around. However, they will need more than rhetoric and stale policy to convince voters they can solve the problem. Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to ease the burden on municipalities without abandoning a commitment to providing affordable housing. The remaining challenge for lawmakers is to deliver reform.


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Filed under Affordable housing, Asbury Park Press, COAH, Frank Pallone, Fulbright Scholar, Gov.Jon Corzine, Hazlet, Monmouth County Democrats, RCA's, State of the State Address, Steve Lonegan, Vincent Solomeno

>Democrats on right side of affordable housing debate; Republicans only offer re-establishment of regional contribution agreements

>

The following commentary appeared in today’s Asbury Park Press and was written by Vincent Solomeno. Vincent is a life long bayshore area resident and a Monmouth County Democratic committeeman from Hazlet.

For those of you who do not know Vincent, he was named one of “50 Rising Stars in New Jersey Politics” by Politicker New Jersey, he has managed or worked on local, state, and national campaigns. He has worked for Congressman Frank Pallone.

In 2006, Vincent became a Truman Scholar and in 2007, he was selected as a J. William Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands where he earned a Master of Arts in European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. A Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG), he is a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve and is training to become a Combat Engineer. 

So when Vincent has an opinion about something it’s worth listening to, he is not some loony liberal trying to push mandates down our throats. He is an extremely intelligent and distinguished member of the Monmouth County community who’s thoughts and ideas  should be considered:

Democrats must be able to transform the statewide mandate of the Council on Affordable Housing or else be ready for Republican criticism that may diminish Democratic support among suburban voters.

Ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan recently traveled to Freehold to stump for votes in his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor. He likened his campaign to the American Revolution and compared Gov. Jon Corzine and the Democratic majorities in the Legislature to the tyrants of Europe and Asia.

The 21st-century Gen. George Washington continued with a blistering attack on COAH and promised that, when the general election is through, the self-financed Corzine will be living in one of the program’s 40,000 units.

November’s election not only will determine who occupies the front office in the state Capitol. It will test New Jersey Republicans’ ability to make inroads into the Democrats’ legislative majority. Unless Democrats present a compelling narrative for affordable housing, COAH and its cumbersome regulations have the potential to unite the feuding factions of the GOP and erase Democratic gains in suburban battlegrounds.

From a policy perspective, the need for affordable housing remains as clear today as it was when the Supreme Court ordered state action on the issue in 1984. According to the U.S. Census, New Jerseyans pay 30 percent or more of their income for housing, the fourth highest percentage in the nation. However, members of both parties recognize that in its current form, COAH often results in continued overdevelopment and an increase in property taxes.

Democrats in the Legislature have indicated their willingness to take on the challenge. As chairman of the Economic Growth Committee, Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, introduced legislation (S2485) that directs the state Housing Commission to consider the impact of its assessments on local property taxes.

Lesniak also wants COAH to provide housing not only to low-income individuals, but to those in the middle class who do not qualify for the program but nonetheless struggle with New Jersey’s high cost of living. Called “work-force” housing, the change would allow individuals such as secretaries, firefighters and recent college graduates to qualify for assistance.

In his recent State of the State address, Corzine indicated his willingness to “allow for maximum flexibility and ample time for collaborative review” of affordable housing plans. The governor and Democrats will face the challenge of articulating the need for COAH regulations to a public leery of continued development.

Affordable housing may be an issue that Republicans can use to their advantage, but thus far they have offered no policy alternative other than S2292, a bill re-establishing the regional contribution agreements that circumvented the intent of affordable housing in the first place. Their advocacy of a return to the failed status quo does nothing to address the real problem.

New Jersey is a “blue” state and New Jersey Republicans are a party rife with ideological divisions. Criticism of COAH presents them with an issue they can rally around. However, they will need more than rhetoric and stale policy to convince voters they can solve the problem. Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to ease the burden on municipalities without abandoning a commitment to providing affordable housing. The remaining challenge for lawmakers is to deliver reform.


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Filed under Affordable housing, Asbury Park Press, COAH, Frank Pallone, Fulbright Scholar, Gov. Jon Corzine, Hazlet, Monmouth County Democrats, RCA's, State of the State Address, Steve Lonegan, Vincent Solomeno

Affordable housing deal nixed


An appeals court on Monday voided an affordable housing swap that would have resulted in Galloway Township sending Bridgeton $2.135 million for about 60 home rehabilitation projects.
The regional contribution agreement, or RCA, had been approved by the state’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) in October 2006 after both towns had agreed to an amended version of the swap, which was initially agreed upon at the same dollar amount in spring 2005.
The Fair Share Housing Center, a nonprofit organization opposed the deal on the grounds it did not meet state requirements.

Will this ruling have any inpact on Middletown in the near future, we will just have to wait and see, but more than likely not.
Middletown is the States #1 abuser of RCA’s and theTownship Committee has already been put on notice that they will not be able to further use RCA’s as a away to meet their COAH obligations.

Click onto the headline to read the story from NJ.com

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Filed under COAH, Fair Share Housing Center, NJ.com, RCA's

Affordable housing deal nixed


An appeals court on Monday voided an affordable housing swap that would have resulted in Galloway Township sending Bridgeton $2.135 million for about 60 home rehabilitation projects.
The regional contribution agreement, or RCA, had been approved by the state’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) in October 2006 after both towns had agreed to an amended version of the swap, which was initially agreed upon at the same dollar amount in spring 2005.
The Fair Share Housing Center, a nonprofit organization opposed the deal on the grounds it did not meet state requirements.

Will this ruling have any inpact on Middletown in the near future, we will just have to wait and see, but more than likely not.
Middletown is the States #1 abuser of RCA’s and theTownship Committee has already been put on notice that they will not be able to further use RCA’s as a away to meet their COAH obligations.

Click onto the headline to read the story from NJ.com

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Filed under COAH, Fair Share Housing Center, NJ.com, RCA's

>Bayshore Young Dems React to Middletown’s Plight

>Last week the New Jersey legislature passed bill A500 which eliminated the use of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCA’s).
RCA’s were agreements that more affluent municipalities entered into with less well off towns, in order to transfer some of the more affluent town’s affordable housing obligations.
Towns like Middletown would enter into agreements to pay other municipalities like Red Bank or Lakewood $20,000 -$35,000 per housing unit, in order to skirt there responsibilities under COAH to fund affordable housing in such towns as Middletown.
At first glance RCA’s seemed like a good idea until towns like Middletown started to abuse the system. Middletown would enter into agreements with other towns and never transfer funds, causing towns like Red Bank to cancel their agreements with Middletown.

Since 1985, Middletown has needed to built approx. 39 units a year of affordable housing to stay in compliance with COAH, but they have chosen not to.
Mayor Scharfenberger and the rest of the Middletown GOP used every trick within their means not to build affordable housing in Middletown and now it has come back to bite them in the ass.

Matt Morehead, Chairman of the Bayshore Young Dems, has been a leading voice on this issue for the past year and has posted on his A Voice for the Youth blog a series of posts that explain, better than I can, Middletowns plight and some of the history behind this issue.

Please take a look at it. This information is very important and needs to be understood to be placed within it’s proper perspective.

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Filed under Bayshore Young Dems, COAH, Matt Morehead, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown, RCA's

Bayshore Young Dems React to Middletown’s Plight

Last week the New Jersey legislature passed bill A500 which eliminated the use of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCA’s).
RCA’s were agreements that more affluent municipalities entered into with less well off towns, in order to transfer some of the more affluent town’s affordable housing obligations.
Towns like Middletown would enter into agreements to pay other municipalities like Red Bank or Lakewood $20,000 -$35,000 per housing unit, in order to skirt there responsibilities under COAH to fund affordable housing in such towns as Middletown.
At first glance RCA’s seemed like a good idea until towns like Middletown started to abuse the system. Middletown would enter into agreements with other towns and never transfer funds, causing towns like Red Bank to cancel their agreements with Middletown.

Since 1985, Middletown has needed to built approx. 39 units a year of affordable housing to stay in compliance with COAH, but they have chosen not to.
Mayor Scharfenberger and the rest of the Middletown GOP used every trick within their means not to build affordable housing in Middletown and now it has come back to bite them in the ass.

Matt Morehead, Chairman of the Bayshore Young Dems, has been a leading voice on this issue for the past year and has posted on his A Voice for the Youth blog a series of posts that explain, better than I can, Middletowns plight and some of the history behind this issue.

Please take a look at it. This information is very important and needs to be understood to be placed within it’s proper perspective.

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Filed under Bayshore Young Dems, COAH, Matt Morehead, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown, RCA's

>Township Committee Opposed to Bamm Hollow Country Club Efforts to Force Community To Rezone Property

>Just posted on the Middletown Township website is a letter to the public explaining how Bamm Hollow Country Club  is attempting to strong-arm  the township into an approval to rezone their grounds so that a residential housing development can be built on the site.

Bamm Hollow is questioning the township’s use of RCA’s to transfer some of it’s affordable housing obligations to Lakewood.  
Middletown entered into an agreement with Lakewood to transfer 98 housing units at a cost of $20,000 each.  These are units that Lakewood desperately needs and wants, however the problem is that since this agreement the cost per units have increased to $35,000 per unit.
Bamm Hollow wants to make sure that Middletown pays the higher costs in order to make their  proposed housing development more attractive to for the township to approve.
My thoughts on this are simple, I think that the township has every right to be outraged about this! This is a sneaky and underhanded attempt by Bamm Hollow Country Club to circumvent the zoning process. It is also going to cost Middletown taxpayers millions of dollars if Bamm Hollow is aloud to get away with it.
 However, this problem to some extent is Middletown’s fault. When the original agreement with Red Bank was in place (see letter), Middletown never transferred the funds to Red Bank, which caused Red Bank to then find another RCA source.    
click onto the headline to read the letter yourself.        

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Filed under Bamm Hollow Country Club, COAH, Middletown, RCA's