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COAH Management Lesson 1

COAH. That ugly acronym that everyone hates.

COAH. That ugly acronym that everyone hates. It’s the reason why many towns have lost control of growth within their borders. It’s the reason why zoning board meetings are packed and often contentious. It gave birth to the concept called Builders Remedy Lawsuit. The Supreme Court ruling was to ensure that anyone could afford to live in any town. In reality, it took zoning and responsible growth away from the people in town and gave it to developers. I find that COAH becomes a problem when it’s not managed properly.   

Do you know that the Council on Affordable Housing is not the only source for a COAH obligation? Do you know that every new market-rate residential development creates new additional obligations? So when a developer comes into a town and, magnanimously, offers to help fulfill a COAH obligation by building 40 COAH units in a 221 unit apartment building, the 181 market-rate units creates more COAH obligations. Of course, when the Democrats amended the Master Plan in 2008, they did not need to put New Milford’s entire COAH obligation on the water company property. They could have broken the obligation down into smaller units so developers could not use the COAH obligation to build 221 apartments. 

Do you know that COAH allows certain development that does not create new obligations? In general, anything that includes housing for seniors, handicapped or developmentally disabled does not create new COAH obligations. In addition, senior housing does not create any issues for our schools.

So, New Milford could easily fulfill its 40-unit COAH obligation by spreading it over 10 properties which would mean 4 units per property. We could utilize some of the foreclosed houses in town and lessen the blow of growth by rehabbing existing housing stock and we could try to attract senior housing and group homes and fulfill our obligation without creating new ones. All it takes is managing our obligation better.

Vote for Peter Rebsch and me for Town Council and this will be the type of thinking and planning you’ll be getting.

Fighting for the future of New Milford.

Howard Berner

Borough Council President

Borough of New Milford

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

miriam pickett October 09, 2012 at 02:15 PM
New Milford currently has a 11 unit COAH obligation. The 40 units would only be a reality if the apartment complex is built on the United Water property. There are other alternatives proposed to meet our COAH requirement and for some reason they have not been pursued.
Howard Berner October 09, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Well, I stand corrected. 11 units would be even easier to fulfill.
Ulises October 10, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Councilman Berner, Peter and Colucci were down my block on Saturday and Colucci is telling my neighbors the development is a done deal already, the zoning is going through, Ulises has it all wrong (thanks Dominic but you have it all wrong), we'll make that ShopRite smaller, etc... and Peter was saying the opposite. I voted for Subrizi, Colucci and Robalino and now I can't wait to vote them out because they ran on not commercializing the UW property and now that's what they intend on doing, they've let me down but that's obvious... Your party's message is mix and Subrizi, Colucci and Robalino are the reasons why. If you and Peter lose, you should consider running as Independents - good luck.
Howard Berner October 10, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Ulises, I can only control my own ideas and message.
Ulises October 10, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Howard, that's the sad part. Your team is not supporting your platform and the Mayor and her confidants are calling your plan Risky? They are out of touch, yet campaigning and knocking on doors that your plan is a Gamble? I don't know how you are going to control your own message with them.
Denise October 13, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Gee, even though I lost my house to investors & it is practically finished already, I am glad that my short sale house is not falling victim to COAH.

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