November 14, 2013 |
More than a year after three feet of water deluged her home in the Merion Park section of Ocean City, N.J., during Sandy, year-round resident Kathleen Givens is still living in a borrowed house. Tiny payouts from private flood and homeowners insurance policies have finally begun to trickle in, but none of it is enough to pay the $60,000 it will cost to lift her Cape May County house onto pilings now required if she is ever to obtain insurance again, or pay the close to $200,000 it will cost to repair the storm-ravaged structure.
November 12, 2013 |
People who stroll through Chinatown on Saturday nights bathe in the lights of intriguing new restaurants, hip tea shops, and stylish lounges. But moving beneath that shiny exterior, as strong and powerful as an underground river, is a torrent of forces that threaten the neighborhood's very existence. An influx of luxury housing, rising rents and land values, a soaring white population, and slipping Asian population could mean the end of Chinatown's 140-year role as a gateway for immigrants and a regional hub for culture and family.
September 28, 2013 |
TRENTON - In a narrow ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the state to rewrite its rules on how many homes municipalities must provide for lower-income residents, striking down provisions that opponents said allowed wealthy towns to avoid building affordable housing. The long-awaited decision is the latest in a string of rulings in the landmark Mount Laurel case, which dates to the 1970s. The case is considered one of the most important civil rights decisions of modern times.
August 31, 2013 |
In a new twist in the aftermath of the Woodcrest Country Club bankruptcy, the Fair Share Housing Center is taking the state to court, seeking to allow development of affordable housing on the Cherry Hill golf course. The center filed a notice of appeal Wednesday, arguing that state environmental officials were wrong to exclude the property from a sewer-service plan, hindering development of affordable housing. The action drew the fury of Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash, who during the club's bankruptcy proceedings had vowed to preserve the 178-acre course as open space.
August 26, 2013 |
CALLING FOR "equitable development," a Point Breeze group is planning a march today in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington. But the march through Point Breeze will also be a demonstration about local issues that organizers say hearken back to the values celebrated in the March on Washington. It will also target Mayor Nutter and Gov. Corbett's policies, along with local high-profile developer Ori Feibush, the owner of OCF Realty and a longtime controversial figure in the gentrifying neighborhood.
August 12, 2013 |
Over bowls of creamy clam chowder at her sister's restaurant, the Robin's Nest, Audrey Winzinger sits across from Kent Pipes as the two ponder their next move in Mount Holly neighborhood-building. Whatever they come up with for moving Mill Race Village past its present frontiers, it is bound to generate controversy. "Some people don't like me," said Pipes, a former Presbyterian minister and a veteran developer of affordable housing, "and some people don't like Audrey. "And others don't like either of us," said Pipes, drawing a laugh from Winzinger, whose family has spent 25 years assembling a portfolio of historic buildings at the edge of downtown as living/work space.
July 18, 2013
It's time for New Jersey to stop playing games over affordable housing and require municipalities to meet their legal obligation to open up their borders to the less affluent. For decades, the state was a national leader in the affordable-housing movement, but efforts to change the state's exclusionary suburban housing landscape have languished under the Christie administration. At every turn, the governor has retreated from court requirements issued in the landmark Mount Laurel housing discrimination case brought by a black family in the 1970s.
July 12, 2013 |
TRENTON - In a setback for Gov. Christie, the New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned his June 2011 decision to disband the Council on Affordable Housing, which administers low- and moderate-income housing programs. The court, in a 5-2 opinion, ruled that the governor did not have the legal authority to disband independent agencies and would have to seek legislative approval to shut down the council. "To abolish independent agencies, the legislative and executive branches must enact new laws that are passed by the Senate and the Assembly and signed by the governor," Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote in the 49-page opinion.
June 29, 2013 |
With rental housing in short supply in much of New Jersey post-Sandy, the Christie administration announced the creation of a $10 million fund aimed at helping nonprofit developers build affordable rental housing. The fund will be supported by federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds and will cover predevelopment costs associated with properties currently deemed unsafe, underused, or in foreclosure. Eligible uses of predevelopment loans include project feasibility studies, environmental studies, engineering studies, architectural fees, legal fees, site preparation, and other soft costs.
June 11, 2013 |
Chinatown has little room to grow. The Center City neighborhood is boxed in by the Gallery to the south and the Convention Center to the west. Most construction is happening to the north of Vine Street, and most of that is for high-end housing. But in a narrow elbow of vacant land, near the delivery entrance to the Gallery on Arch Street near Eighth Street, two nonprofit developers are moving ahead with plans for a nine-story, 94-unit apartment house. It's a unique collaboration between the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp.