Last week’s disastrous N.J. Supreme Court affordable housing decision is likely to figure into this year’s handful of competitive legislative contests as courts allot ‘gap period’ mandates to towns in all 21 counties.
LD16’s Republican Assembly challengers Donna Simon and Mark Caliguire intend to press the issue in their own district.
On Tuesday, they challenged incumbent Democrat Andrew Zwicker to denounce the decision and join their GOP district leader, Senator Kip Bateman, whose legislation (S-2216/A-3782) would permit each New Jersey municipality to administer its own respective affordable housing obligations.
“That’s just outrageous,” said Simon, referring to her hometown of Readington and neighboring Raritan’s combined possible 1,000 affordable unit obligation. “Does the court just expect these towns to pave over open space and destroy the quality of life for the people who currently live there?”
The running mates emphasized the ruinous impact on local property taxes attendant to such a massive new amount of publicly-subsidized construction.
“Where does it stop?” added Freeholder Caliguire, a former mayor whose town of Montgomery faces a potential 1,000 unit mandate of its own. “Somerset and Hunterdon Counties would be devastated by these court-ordered mandates with literally thousands upon thousands of new mandated housing units without having any say whatsoever. A heavy-handed court should not be able to usurp the power of elected officials and muzzle the voices of local taxpayers. As a legislator, I would fight this tooth and nail. Assemblyman Zwicker’s silence makes you wonder who he is representing.”
Zwicker is a freshman legislator who, powered by independent third-party expenditures, overcame Simon by a razor-thin margin in 2015 to steal her seat.