The recent passage of Senate bill S-1 is welcome news for every New Jersey taxpayer. This bill effectively ends the taxpayer-subsidized bureaucracy known as the Council On Affordable Housing (“COAH”) that dictated housing quotas from Trenton. As a longtime opponent of this program, I have witnessed the enormous cost to the taxpayers and the damage done to a municipality’s ability to maintain their own zoning regulations and control development through smart planning. Each COAH unit costs the taxpayers a staggering $161,000 to subsidize. Moreover, it results in greater housing density that puts massive strains on municipal services, roads and schools, further driving up local property taxes. It is difficult enough for our residents to afford their own homes without asking them to subsidize the homes of others. Credit also must go to Governor Christie, who made the abolition of COAH a cornerstone of his campaign. As soon as the Governor signs this bill, I will immediately direct the Township’s professionals to determine whether revisions can be made to the Township’s housing plans without placing the Township in legal jeopardy. This will return the development density of Middletown to the residents, and remove one of the most costly, onerous unfunded mandates ever foisted upon the taxpayers. The removal of suffocating mandates such as COAH is another important step towards easing the crushing property tax burden from the backs of New Jersey taxpayers.
Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger