As the Case is Being Considered, There’s Reaction to Arguments Raised in the Berkeley Housing Suit
No decision yet on whether a State Superior Court Judge will compel Berkeley Township to allow the construction of affordable housing units for Sandy victims on Route 9. The township is defending itself against a lawsuit filled by the NAACP, the Latino Action Network and Fair Share Housing that contend Berkeley officials changed their decision over concerns about the types of people who would be living in the units. They also accuse the township of habitually placing its affordable housing units in its predominantly African American neighborhood of Manitou Park.
However, the arguments raised in the lawsuit is what the author of a petition opposed to the Berkeley Family Apartments is against. Cheryl Bozinis of Pine Beach said her opposition has nothing to do with race.
"In my petition, race is never mentioned, neither is low income. What is mentioned is destroying ecosystems, the environment, the traffic implications, the Coastal Evacuation Route being compromised," said Bozinis.
She also said that the Walters Group was also offered another less congested area of Route 9 to place the units but the attorney for the ethnic and housing groups failed to mention that.
Bozinis also contends that Sandy victims are not waiting for the rental units.
"They (Sandy victims) are paying on taxes and mortgages on homes that don't exist they're paying for rentals now. They want money to get back in their homes. This is a slap in the face to the Sandy victims in our town."
Bozinis also said there are more than enough vacancies available in existing units and believes that the developers claims that these are for Sandy victims is a ruse.
The Walters Group was granted preliminary approval to build 88 multi-family housing units (11 apartment buildings) on 13 acres of land along the Route 9 corridor. However, the Mayor and Council is now refusing to provide the developer with a Resolution of Need that would make the Walters Group eligible for millions of dollars in federal Sandy aid to construct the units.
In early reports we told you Bozinis collected over 700 petition signatures which includes support of the 9th District State Senate and Assembly delegation.