The entire Township Committee wants to wish everyone in Warren Township a great 2018. We hope this New Year brings good health and happiness for everyone.
I am honored to have been selected by the Committee to lead the meetings as Mayor and Chairman in 2018. All of us, on the Committee, have held this position at least once. None of us, regardless of the title, has any greater authority or responsibility than the others.
This form of government is the very best for our community. One of the alternatives, an elected Mayor, provides too much power to one individual. So many Mayors in New Jersey have allowed the power to misguide them into a direction of corruption. We will continue to do our part to provide the residents with open and honest government in a shared power structure with good checks and balances.
The Warren Township Committee continues to make significant progress in meeting the state affordable housing mandate while responsibly integrating affordable housing into the community. This comes after 15 years of court rulings upholding the legislative mandate imposed on municipalities across the state to increase affordable housing throughout the state.
Over the years, we have proactively met our obligations under the law, while refusing to compromise our residents’ quality of life. Unlike other municipalities, we have worked hard to avoid court action and developer lawsuits that would otherwise control of our town’s future; but we will never let anyone or any organization destroy the character of the Township without a fight.
In the current environment, the Township Committee has enumerated a list of strict requirements that would-be developers must adhere to. These requirements are intended to protect our neighborhoods, shield our school system from undo impacts, maintain the curb-appeal of our housing stock, and ease the burden of traffic throughout the town.
By following this strategy, Warren Township has met each round of reformulated affordable housing mandates and is now closer to being in compliance with projected state affordable housing numbers than neighboring towns that have buried their heads in the sand regarding this challenge.
While the final numbers are not yet known, it appears that the number of existing affordable housing units provides more than half of all units Warren will ultimately be required to provide. As it has in the past, the Committee continues to seek to locate developments that include affordable units throughout the town, to avoid concentrating the impact of new development. These developments will vary in size and scope, but all will adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Township Committee and town officials. And, as plans for them are presented to the Planning Board and elsewhere, residents will have many opportunities to help shape what Warren will be like in the coming decades.
Affordable housing will be the biggest issue for the Township in 2018. We will keep you informed as much as legally possible.