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Op Ed for distribution throughout
Too many municipalities, especially rural ones, rely upon private developers to satisfy the communityís State-mandated affordable housing obligations through inclusionary developments. That's when a developer builds some affordable housing in return for getting additional market rate units. Many times the number of market units allowed, per affordable unit, far exceeds a fair incentive, resulting in giant developments with very few affordables.
Maintaining the rural environment and meeting affordable housing obligations by the use of inclusionary developments are two ideas in conflict. The second undoes the first.
To maintain the rural environment, affordable housing obligations can be met with far less impact than inclusionary developments and at far less cost to the tax payers. After all, letting builders over-develop to provide a handful of affordable housing units may save a township from some minor up-front costs, but the eventual costs to the taxpayer of inclusionary developments are enormous in underwriting all the services needed by the new residents. Isn't it the ultimate cost to the taxpayer - and not the up-front cost to the township - that should be the focus here?
If your municipal officials are still relying on inclusionary development to fulfill your affordable housing obligations, you should be asking why.
Many enlightened, local municipal leaders have come to realize that any town that goes the inclusionary route is either misguided, irresponsible, or kow-towing to development interests. Or all three!
Mike King, Coodinator, REALsmart
the league for real smart growth