The New Jersey Land Use Laws (MLUL) gives municipalities and counties powers to develop and establish regulations on land in such a way that residents’ health, safety, welfare, and morals are improved and protected. The laws may have good intentions when it comes to improving peoples lives , but on many occasions’ people with lower socioeconomic status, usually do not benefit from the laws. instead they end up worse off than they were. Usually this happens when a municipality wants to find ways of improving the tax base and financial standing. Municipal governments tend to focus on poor neighborhoods to free up land either for commercial purposes or to rebuild better homes. When new homes are constructed to replace the ones that were torn down, the price is too high for the displaced residents to move back in.
Despite the many court cases and rulings in New Jersey in regards to the housing problem, it seems the situation of finding affordable housing is not getting any better. The Southern Burlington, NAACP v. Township of Mount Laurel ruling, makes it possible for people with low socioeconomic status to afford buying or renting a home anywhere in New Jersey. But there are not enough houses to accommodate the growing number of low income earners. I think it’s a matter of public interest for municipal governments to work with developers to allow for many quality affordable houses to be built in their towns. Residents living in towns that oppose affordable housing in their neighborhoods need to check facts and stop following mob mentality, believing all low income people are up to no good. Every hard working resident of New Jersey needs to be able to afford to live in a decent home.
Affordable apartments can be designed in such a way that they blend well with the neighborhood. its a high time people opposed to affordable housing realize that communities are built by people of different means and ideas. Building apartments does not require large tracts of land, and yet many families can be accommodated here, instead of building large homes that deny people a place to live. Inclusionary zoning is a step towards the right direction, when it comes to improving the health, safety, morals of low income residents of New Jersey. Citizens need to learn to be accommodating and tolerant of people who they think are different from them; Let’s all chip in by engaging our local government leaders and help find quality affordable homes for our low income residents.