Showdown on Affordable Housing
A showdown is on the horizon as Toms River officials refuse to accept the state's map designating three areas in the Township for likely affordable housing construction to meet third-round obligations.
Toms River officials have said the state is out-of-touch with reality because the locations are already developed and include a cemetery, a shopping mall and a chemically-compromised site.
"The sites they have are ridiculous," said Toms River Councilman Maurice "Mo" Hill. He explained, "To put 2,400 units of affordable housing on the Ciba Geigy site, the BASF site, is ridiculous. It's still a site that needs to be remediated." Hill sarcastically joked, "That would be the playground for the 2,400 units that are going to be out there? I mean it's ridiculous. It just doesn't make sense."
The state gave the Township an inaccurate map and spreadsheet, according to Hill. He said taxpayer money could have been better spent had the state sought input from Toms River Planners and Engineers. He claimed the state never did that, noting essentially there is no place in Toms River to put additional affordable housing.
Toms River already has constructed 1,700 units of low-income housing, more than any other Town in the state, according to Hill. He pointed out, "We've got a job deficit. We've got a lack of road infrastructure here. We have no mass transit, and they want more affordable housing."
"We're going to fight them," Hill vowed. "We think they're excessive and inappropriate for Toms River," he said.
Toms River has received the highest allocation of affordable housing in New Jersey, according to Hill. "How can you justify that?" He contended Toms River is not an exclusive community, noting it has a median income of $10,000 below the state's median income.
"They refuse to count anything constructed before the mid-80's. That eliminates a lot of property in Silverton and the northern section of Toms River, the Gilford Park section, and all around town that are affordable units," Hill said.