14 November 2008

COAH order in the NJ Highlands

COAH has issued something of an emergency order requiring Highlands communities to fulfill COAH obligations. The Star-Ledger reports:
"The point of it is to ensure that there's sufficient land, water and sewer to meet the affordable housing obligations in the Highlands region," said Lucy Vandenberg, executive director of the Council on Affordable Housing, or COAH.

As I read it (and I read it very quickly) this is part of a continuing expansion of the diverging sets of interest that multiple players have in the Highlands. The Highlands Council, the builders, environemtnal groups, and now the Council on Affordable Housing all have somewhat different interests, obligations and expectations for the region. In a basic sense, that is how democracy works and evolves. But, since the Highlands got left behind in so many policy discussions in the 80s and 90s, it has been a rush now to address the conflicts between the water supply demands, environmental quality issues, housing pressures, regional food supply, tax systems, etc. The Task Force, the Council, the Plan, and this COAH order have all been rapid responses that look (in the media) pretty different from policies that have emerged over decades.

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