Working for Smart Growth:
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State Misses Lead in Affordable Housing

July 31st, 2003 by

  • New Jersey is some 75,000 homes short of meeting its own estimated need for affordable housing. Independent experts say the actual need for housing could be 10 times that number.
  • Recently the state agreed to transfer its jurisdiction over two large parcels of land to private development, without requiring affordable housing be a part of either deal.
  • In the Meadowlands, 4,000 new homes are part of a draft master plan for this environmentally sensitive region. None of the new units as planned qualify as affordable housing.
  • In Parsippany, the state sold for $1 some 300 excess acres on the campus of Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. Land buyer Morris County plans a major park and the renovation of some buildings for office use on the former state land. Yet despite the new jobs planned for the site, no housing of any kind has been announced.
  • Both developments would have spawned new affordable housing automatically if the state adopted “growth share” as a part its housing policy.


If New Jersey is serious about placing affordable housing where jobs and economic growth are going, it will lead by example.

The state could also ensure that all new development generates affordable housing automatically by including “growth share” as a part of the state’s new housing policy to be announced in August.

Growth share requires that growing communities build affordable housing, too, as a fixed percentage of their residential and commercial growth. The State Supreme Court has indicated that developments containing 20 percent affordable housing would appropriate in certain circumstances.

By including growth share as a part of housing policy, New Jersey could ensure that all new residential and commercial growth brings not only economic prosperity, but housing that’s affordable, too.

View Realistic Opportunity? The Distribution of Affordable Housing and Jobs in New Jersey.

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