02 December 2008

COAH Glass Half Empty

Hillsborough Township's affordable housing consultant will present Hillsborough's new COAH plan at a meeting of the Planning Board on December 4. The plan, by using previous development, rental units, and other options, reduces Hillsborough's affordable housing requirement by more than 50% - from 650 units down to 296. The plan also reduces market rate units from a potential high of 2600 units down to just 437!

These reductions are a significant achievement and should be applauded. Even more significant is the fact that the plan designates three development projects on the table right now - two on Amwell Road and one on Route 206 - that will fulfill all of the 296 units of the affordable housing requirement.

Overall, the COAH plan was completed on time, with significant reductions to our obligations, and with a realistic goal for completing the building requirements by the 2018 deadline. So why am I still pessimistic - why does a 50% reduction in affordable housing leave the COAH glass half empty instead of half full?

I agree with Mayor Ferrera and the Township Committee that COAH is broken. It is unfair to municipalities both in its methods of calculation and in its overall philosophy - which forces a town like Hillsborough, with a huge variety of housing options in place, to build more unnecessary housing in contradiction to our Master Plan.

Hillsborough should continue to participate in the League of Municipalities lawsuit to overturn the COAH rules, while only taking baby sips from the COAH cup.


  1. It seems a little shaky to base a plan on three projects that haven't even made it to the published agendas for the BOA or PB.

  2. Hughes - I hear what you are saying - but this is a 10 year plan, and in my view it is much better to base it on projects that are expected to come up in the first year than on some phantom development that may or may not come forward 5 years from now.