Land Development Regulations: Roadblock to Affordable Housing

by Thomas J. Olenik, New Jersey Inst of Technology, Newark, United States,
S. L. Cheng, New Jersey Inst of Technology, Newark, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Housing America in the Twenty-First Century


Land development regulations in the State of New Jersey have been utilized to control development since the mid-1970's. The demand for affordable housing in the state is reaching a critical period since the median price of a single-family dwelling in New Jersey currently exceeds $150,000. Through various court decisions there has been an attempt in the last few years to force affordable housing upon individual townships. This court remedy and the associated legislative action has been essentially stalled due to the myriad of independent environmental regulations that exist throughout the state. At the present time a land development project faces independent action from the local and county planning boards as well as a long list of individual permits required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEPE). These permits amount to such items as stream encroachment, stormwater management, sanitary sewer extension permits, freshwater wetlands, and restrictions on the use of septic systems or the flow of sewage to existing treatment plants. Since all the above items are treated as independent and theoretically unrelated review procedures, the time it takes for a developer to obtain the necessary approvals prior to construction has risen to an average of two years. The paper will discuss the conditions listed above and the impact upon market rate units and affordable housing in the state of New Jersey. Based upon the author's experience, proposed solutions will be offered that will hopefully resurrect the currently failing housing market in the state of New Jersey.

Subject Headings: Permits | Land use | Highways and roads | Housing | Stormwater management | Business management | Urban development | Pricing | New Jersey | United States

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