LETTER: Affordable housing residents are our neighbors

EDITOR: It’s been over 44 years since the Mount Laurel Doctrine, which requires wealthy towns, like our lovely Madison, provide their fair share of low-and-moderate-income housing. Something Madison has done so since the early 1980s.

Some towns tried to comply. After another court battle, some remaining towns settled their “fair share obligations” in 2017. Madison did not, engaging in litigation since 2015. Without a settlement, a judge will decide how many housing units Madison needs. But the borough is getting close.

Remember, low-and-moderate-income housing is not subsidized housing. It’s rental and/or for-sale housing, offered at below market rate to qualified households. In Madison, income eligibility for affordable housing ranges from $56,430 for a single person to $80,614 for a family of four. Those who live in affordable housing typically include teachers/professors, police officers and restaurant workers. They are our neighbors and active members of our community.

Taxpayers usually don’t pay to build these units. Instead, builders may include low-or-moderate-income units, such as the construction at Kings Road and Division Avenue. Or they may contribute cash, such as, the KRE (Kushner Real Estate Group of Bridgewater Township) project on Kings Road, which paid $2.1 million.

I commend and support the Borough Council for reaching a tentative agreement. Madison’s fair share obligation gets credit for 174 existing units. Madison agreed to begin building 40 affordable housing units on Ridgedale Avenue in 2022 (on unused land at the Madison Recreation Complex). The new master plan will allow more.

Instead of uncertainty, the current agreement, if approved, will end costly litigation and continue Madison’s long tradition of ensuring affordable housing. A win-win for Madison.

Maple Avenue

9/19/19 published in the Madison Eagle