Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lakewood - affordable housing?

APP: New Jersey wants to ease the way for affordable housing projects in some coastal centers by temporarily relaxing some environmental limits, under a proposed rule to be published today. Such projects would still have to meet wetlands and other environmental rules..."This is a very important rule," said Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, president of N.J. Housing and Neighborhood Development, a nonprofit seeking to build more than 400 affordable housing units in Lakewood. "There is a great need for affordable housing." "We're not affecting anybody, we're helping people," Lefkowitz said. "We help the community. It's a win-win situation. No one gets hurt here." But Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a Sandy Hook-based coastal conservation group, said the DEP, instead of trying to ensure that affordable housing projects protect the environment, is "creating loopholes and exemptions that will encourage towns to site affordable housing projects in environmentally sensitive areas.... Requirements on the amount of vegetation covering a site also would be relaxed.....Mainland municipalities had until Feb. 7, 2005, to win State Planning Commission approval of their centers and retain the higher cover limits. Yet many missed the deadline. This spring, the state temporarily re-established centers in nine coastal-area towns, including Barnegat, Brick, Dover, Lakewood and Waretown, according to an e-mail from Ehinger. The centers had expired last year, threatening some affordable housing, commercial redevelopment and other building plans....
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