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Thread: New Jersey running out of Open Space

  1. #16

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    April 21, 2004

    For New Jersey Towns, an Experiment: Putting Growth Here, Not There

    By IVER PETERSON


    Larry Durry, a farmer, sold the development rights to some of his land in a new antisprawl system being tested in New Jersey.

    CHESTERFIELD, N.J., April 20 - Larry Durry is a New Jersey farmer, and as any farmer would, he opposed a plan to restrict housing developments here in his town. After all, housing is usually the last and most profitable crop a suburban farmer like Mr. Durry will raise in his fields.

    But after generations of trying and failing to control growth, the state whose very name stands for sprawl has been experimenting with a plan that has promised to save farmland, meet the demand for new housing and still provide that retirement payout for landowners like Mr. Durry. In fact, he is now one of the new zoning rule's biggest proponents, even though no new houses will ever appear on his land.

    "I just wanted to be sure it would be fair," he said, "and it was."

    The program that sold itself to Mr. Durry has a sleep-inducing name, the transfer of development rights system, although a better term would be the sale of development rights. Like the old practice of transferring air rights, or height limits, to tall buildings from short ones in New York City, the system allows municipalities to designate where their growth will be. Developers can then increase the number of dwellings in their projects - and their profits - by transferring housing credits assigned to open land, like Mr. Durry's, bought from owners whose land lies outside the designated growth zone.

    With the state's population expected to grow by 750,000 and 1 million people by the next generation, planners believe that development pressure will eat up all the state's developable land. Early successes in the transfer of development rights in Burlington County are being watched as a possible model for land policy for the state's remaining large rural areas, and particularly for the towns in the Highlands, the hilly countryside in the state's northwest.

    Here in Burlington County, where the widening rings of sprawl from New York City and Philadelphia have begun to overlap, the towns of Chesterfield and Lumberton are working with a transfer system authorized with special state legislation enacted in 1989. The early signs of success helped Gov. James E. McGreevey win his first legislative antisprawl victory last month with the passage of a bill permitting development rights transfers statewide.

    ''One thing that the McGreevey administration has done is, they realize that we're running out of land," Bill Dressell, director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said in an interview two weeks ago. "And unless we start annexing parts of Pennsylvania or New York, or backfilling the Atlantic, we are going to run out of room.''

    For still-rural towns like Chesterfield, the traditional way to control growth has been to zone for large lots - four or five acres per dwelling, said Susan E. Craft, Burlington County's farmland preservation specialist. But now so many people are willing to buy those huge boxes on treeless plains that large-lot zoning no longer protects against development. Open acreage in rural counties like this one is quickly being eaten up, Ms. Craft said.

    But trying to force housing into smaller lots by zoning is also unfair, Ms. Craft added, creating winners out of owners of land zoned for housing and dashing hopes of those whose land is zoned to remain undeveloped.

    "That's the problem with zoning," Ms. Craft said. "With a stroke of a pen, one landowner is a billionaire and the other guy is wiped out."

    Traditional zoning, she said, also tends to be unstable. One administration may impose its zoning, but its work is often undone by new officials. Chesterton approached its transfer system with the calculation that 1,200 houses were headed its way under its current, large-lot zoning system. Rather than buying up the land itself or waiting for those houses to spread across the landscape, the town created a 560-acre "receiving area" into which all of the new growth would be forced.

    That left most of the township's remaining 21 square miles, the "sending area," largely undeveloped.

    The plan overcomes the inequity such a system would normally impose on landowners in preservation areas by giving them a credit for each house they were entitled to build under the existing zoning. So an owner of 25 developable acres in a five-acre zone would be given five credits to sell, often with fractions awarded for incomplete parcels.

    Developers in the receiving area then buy those credits, each one giving the builder the right to build one or more additional dwellings in the receiving zone, depending on the size of the home.

    "Transfers of development rights brings that windfall-and-wipeout scenario you get from zoning into balance," said Ms. Craft, ''because the landowner in the sending area and the receiving area each have something to sell."

    Chesterfield is using the system to plan a new community from scratch. Lumberton, in southern Burlington County, however, has focused on pushing new development, mostly of single-family homes, into already built-up areas, where roads and sewer connections are easier and cheaper to make.

    Although the landscape in Lumberton looks like any growing community's - a mix of new housing and fields - Dewitt Pennypacker, a member of the Town Council, could point out many remaining fields that would never be developed.

    "We have preserved 850 acres at no cost to ourselves - the developers have paid that cost," he said. "Other towns around us have had to borrow millions of dollars to do the same thing by buying the land."

    One piece of Mr. Durry's farmland in Chesterfield was worth 6.25 credits, which he sold for about $23,000 each (although the prices for credits has increased to close to $30,000 now that the first houses are up in the new development there, Old York Village). The credits ended up in a 400-unit development that will be built in the receiving zone by the K. Hovnanian Companies, New Jersey's biggest home builder.

    Bradley N. Haber, director of land acquisitions for Hovnanian, said he still has concerns about the transfer system, including the possibility of a scarcity of credits - if landowners hold out, for example.

    But Mr. Haber also found the exhaustive planning and municipal cooperation that are key features of the transfer system a nice surprise. Normally, the first developer on a big project foots the bill for the costs of the parkways and boulevards that run through a development, for example, then tries to collect from later arrivals, he said. But under the new system, those costs are apportioned to each housing unit from the beginning.

    The town of Chesterfield also arranged for sewer and water for all of Old York Village from the outset, eliminating one of a developer's greatest headaches.

    Old York Village's design, by the Trenton firm of Clarke Caton Hintz, won an American Planning Council award for its New Urbanism village style, with houses on narrow lots built close together, many with alleyways in back to keep cars and garbage collection off the streets. It will have its own downtown commercial area of shops, and parks, churches and an elementary school within walking distance for many children.

    "And every time a house goes up in Old York Village, you know that there are five or six acres out in the agricultural area that are being preserved," said Philip B. Caton, the principal planner. He figured the village would be built and occupied in 5 to 10 years, depending on the housing market. And besides saving open space, the compact design makes running a municipality cheaper.

    "If you know where your growth is going to occur, you can design your streets and your other services - water, schools, police stations - too," said Mr. Dressell, director of the League of Municipalities. "Garbage collection on a per-unit basis goes way down if all your people are in one place."

    Still, as critics point out, buying up farmland, while expensive, at least allows municipalities to block growth. Allowing landowners to transfer development rights only manages it.

    "You're solving the problem of protecting farmland, but you're not controlling population and the taxes and the traffic associated with development," said Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, an environmental group. A transfer system has been used to save a part of the Pine Barrens.

    "Here on Long Island, no matter what the social goal, whether to preserve farmland, increase affordable housing or preserve the watershed, the developer's solution is, 'Let us build more houses,' " Mr. Amper went on. "Well, sometimes it is over development itself that has created all of these problems, and you do not solve them by continuing to let them build more houses."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  2. #17

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    June 15, 2004

    Second Part of Land Deal Speeds Up Development

    By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI

    TRENTON, June 14 - Three days after legislators approved a landmark plan to preserve 400,000 acres near many sources of drinking water in North Jersey, lawmakers have unveiled the other part of that deal: a proposal that would significantly speed development on more than a third of the state's vacant land.

    The new initiative, which was introduced and adopted by committees in the Senate and General Assembly on Monday, would streamline the building-permit process in much of the state by granting developers automatic approval of zoning or environmental applications that are still undecided after 45 days.

    The plan would also appoint a special ombudsman to help builders who feel they are being bogged down by the Department of Environmental Protection or other agencies.

    Supporters of the proposal say it will help fight suburban sprawl and speed the process of urban revitalization by giving state officials the means to encourage development in blighted cities and other areas.

    "This is about cutting through red tape," said Micah Rasmussen, a spokesman for Gov. James E. McGreevey. "This doesn't weaken any environmental regulations whatsoever. It allows us to enforce our existing laws more efficiently."

    Environmentalists, though, were angered that the plan made such far-reaching concessions to the builders' lobby. It was prepared during the past month as Governor McGreevey's aides desperately tried to win Democratic support for a bill to preserve land near the rivers and reservoirs of the state's Highlands region.

    David Pringle, program director for the New Jersey Environmental Federation, said he would have opposed the Highlands bill if he had known the tradeoff would be so costly. He said the new rules would allow builders to sidestep much of the state's environmental code.

    Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said he planned to challenge the plan in court, saying it violates federal environmental law and does not give the public enough opportunity to review building plans.

    "This kind of legislation was rejected by Ronald Reagan and abandoned by Newt Gingrich," Mr. Tittel said. "This will give New Jersey the worst environmental rules anywhere in the country. Our neighborhoods will see more toxic waste, pollution into their drinking water and rivers, and loss of open space than ever before."

    Suburban sprawl and environmental protection are highly emotional issues in New Jersey, which is both the nation's most densely populated state and home to a high number of industrial waste sites.

    Mr. Rasmussen, the governor's spokesman, said the new rules, which Democrats have called the "smart growth" regulations, are also environmentally friendly because they balance the concerns of preservationists with the need for new housing and urban redevelopment. Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, the Democratic lawmaker who blocked the Highlands bill until the administration agreed to support the proposal to speed up permits, said the plan would also ease property taxes in some communities by allowing development to create new sources of municipal tax revenue.

    The New Jersey Builders Association and a variety of other construction groups welcomed the bill, saying it would help make sense of a permitting process that has driven up housing costs by creating a maze of time-consuming and expensive bureaucratic delays. John B. Canuso Sr. said the new regulations would allow construction companies to provide housing at a reasonable price.

    "When you have the developers putting money on the street to plan, the farmers who want to sell their properties and the towns who need new tax revenue, you need predictability," said Mr. Canuso, who runs a construction company in Haddonfield.

    The regulations would apply to large swaths of land identified in the state's master planning map. Although supporters said the bill would focus on redeveloping urban communities, environmentalists insist that it will also lead to accelerated building in rural areas and suburbs.

    "This bill is packaged and presented as a smart growth bill but it is no such thing," said Dena Mottola, executive director of the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group. "It will increase sprawl in towns already overburdened with overdevelopment."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


    The Battle to Save the Highlands

  3. #18

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    June 18, 2004

    Restrictions on Building Eased in Parts of New Jersey

    By LAURA MANSNERUS

    TRENTON, June 17 - While environmental advocates lobbied frantically to stop them, New Jersey legislators approved a bill Thursday that would expedite approval of development in more than one-third of the state. The bill moved with startling speed; introduced three days earlier, it sailed through both houses after leaders struck deals to vote without debate.

    The measure speeds the building-permit process in areas already designated by the state as suitable for development, including most of northeastern New Jersey and the New Jersey Turnpike corridor. It also provides for a state "smart-growth" ombudsman with effective veto power over proposed environmental regulations, and representatives in key state agencies to address builders' complaints.

    The bill was the price exacted for the legislation protecting the New Jersey Highlands, which was hailed as a triumph of environmental preservation when the Legislature approved it just last week.

    Gov. James E. McGreevey, who has cast himself as an antisprawl champion, has had notoriously bad relations with builders. But when a handful of fellow Democrats advocating development projects held up his Highlands bill, he agreed to streamline the permit process. On Thursday afternoon, he twisted arms to get the needed votes.

    Meanwhile, the environmental advocates who were rejoicing a week ago protested that they had been betrayed.

    "This bill was worse than we ever imagined," said Douglas O'Malley of the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, joining colleagues outside the governor's office. "We would not have supported the Highlands bill if we knew about this bill."

    Amy Goldsmith, the executive director of the New Jersey Environmental Federation, said, "No deal was worth the destruction of 30 years of environmental progress in this state."

    But the bill's proponents said they were just encouraging builders in developed areas. "The status quo has not given us smart growth," said Micah Rasmussen, the governor's press secretary. "Half of smart growth is telling builders where they can't build, which we have been doing for two and a half years, and the other half is telling them where they should build."

    Jim Sinclair, the first vice president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said the bill was "an important economic development tool, particularly in cities and older suburbs." Mr. Sinclair added: "We still have to meet all the state requirements. This just takes us out of the never-never-land of the permitting process."

    The areas covered by the bill are designated in the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, which divides the state into five categories, from urban to environmentally sensitive. The bill applies to those designated urban and suburban, although much of the acreage is still undeveloped.

    The plan requires a state agency, in most cases the Department of Environmental Protection, to act on permit applications within 90 days; if it does not, a permit is automatically approved. It also allows a builder to hire a consultant, to be registered with the state, to certify that the application meets state law.

    Local zoning and planning ordinances and local decisions on building permits would not be affected.

    Environmental groups strongly opposed the permit measures. Most said they were disturbed by the appointment of an ombudsman with wide-reaching authority. The ombudsman may not only expedite permit approvals, but may also veto proposed environmental regulations he deems inconsistent with the state plan.

    Jeff Tittel, the executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said the organization's board had authorized a court challenge to the legislation,. The federal Environmental Protection Agency also raised concerns. Jane M. Kenny, the agency's regional director, who oversaw the New Jersey state planning office when she was a cabinet member under Gov. Christie Whitman, said in a letter to Mr. McGreevey that some provisions "could contravene a variety of federal permitting requirements, which the state is required to follow."

    Environmental advocates said they knew the Highlands plan would require trade-offs but were taken by surprise when the new bill materialized within days.

    "The only place there was going to be any debate was on the floor of the Legislature, and they cut that off, " Ms. Goldsmith said.

    The Senate vote was 26 to 10, with 4 abstentions. The Assembly vote was 47 to 25, with 2 abstentions. The votes did not follow party lines.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  4. #19

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    June 19, 2004

    New Jersey Blocks Off Highlands, but Eases Other Rules for Builders

    By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI and LAURA MANSNERUS

    TRENTON, N.J., June 18 - In the course of a single week, New Jersey lawmakers approved two vastly different bills that could drastically alter the state's landscape for generations to come.

    Seeking to stake out the kind of environmental issue he can claim as his legacy, Gov. James E. McGreevey won approval of a bill last Thursday that would protect much of the state's drinking water by limiting development in a 400,000-acre section of northwest New Jersey known as the Highlands.

    But the price he paid to win approval of the Highlands initiative, a bill that would streamline the building permit process in much of the state, is likely to speed the pace of construction in huge swaths of the suburbs. Environmentalists were infuriated that those new regulations were rushed through the Legislature Thursday and warned that they would bring increased traffic congestion, pollution and suburban sprawl. The fact that the bill was passed just three days after it was introduced and that legislative leaders did not allow a floor debate was a stunning display of the construction lobby's political muscle.

    Mr. McGreevey and Democratic legislative leaders insist that the two plans, taken as a whole, represent a sensible balance between conservation and regulated growth.

    "If we're going to stop development in the Highlands, stop desiccating our farms and open space and our suburban and urban parks, then we need to encourage it elsewhere, in targeted areas and inner-city areas in need of redevelopment," the governor said.

    But conservationists insist that the new rules will give New Jersey some of the most lax regulations in the nation and will lead to increased building in overdeveloped areas like Bergen County and the suburbs along Route 1 between Newark and Trenton.

    Many legal experts say the rules are so lax, in fact, that they are not likely to withstand legal challenges.

    "This is the worst piece of environmental legislation I've seen in New Jersey in 35 years," said Edward Lloyd, director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia Law School. "People in New Jersey care a lot about the environment, and usually there is strong support for the environment in both parties. And this is a failure."

    The key to understanding the vast scale of the proposals is the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, which was devised 12 years ago in an attempt to preserve the dwindling amount of open space around the state and halt the unplanned proliferation of strip malls and subdivisions.

    The new legislation allows expedited state approvals for developers in areas that the state plan designates as metropolitan or suburban. It also provides for such approvals in smaller nodes around towns in rural areas. The new law would affect not just highly developed suburban communities like Princeton, but also the outskirts of remote towns like Sparta.

    It is not clear exactly how much of that territory is available to builders; as of 2001, the state plan said that of 543,000 acres classified as suburban, 206,000 were "unprotected and undeveloped" while 23,000 were preserved and 86,000 not suitable for development.

    Builders say the plan greatly overestimates the amount of land truly available to them. But Jeff Tittel, the executive director of the Sierra Club of New Jersey, said the estimate was low. The area designated suburban, he said, "is mostly vacant farmland that they're turning into sprawl."

    Barbara Lawrence, the executive director of New Jersey Future, a statewide planning organization, said, "I feel queasy defending the bill," but she added that "the streamlining is confined to areas of the state where we have supposedly agreed we want development to take place."

    Ms. Lawrence said the builders had legitimate complaints about the red tape in the state agencies, and other land-use experts agree that simplifying and expediting is, in theory, a good thing.

    "That's the sad part about this," Mr. Lloyd said. "There's agreement about the problem, but the solution is using a sledge hammer where a scalpel would be appropriate."

    The legislation requires the state to act on environmental permits within 45 days, and to reach a final decision within another 45 days. If it does not, the approval will be automatically granted.

    The law also concentrates power in a "smart growth ombudsman," appointed by the governor, who could not only intervene on behalf of builders but could also veto any proposed regulations that he finds inconsistent with the state plan.

    Many of these provisions raise legal questions, especially since the state is bound to comply with many federal environmental laws governing permits. It is for that reason, legal experts say, that only a few other states have adopted similar streamlining laws, with mixed success.

    Thomas Borden, an associate professor at the Environmental Law Clinic at Rutgers University in Newark, said he expected several environmental groups to challenge the law in court, as the Sierra Club has already vowed to do. Mr. Borden said the groups expected builders to overwhelm state agencies with applications that then would likely be granted without review. "The potential for abuse is just horrendous," he said.

    Environmentalists also say that by making permits easier to obtain, builders will be able to bully local planning officials by approaching them, permits in hand, and threatening to sue any municipality that opposes proposed construction.

    But Mr. McGreevey says that the Department of Environmental Protection will receive enough additional staff to handle any increase in permit applications. He also insists that the new rules will not weaken the regulatory process.

    "The D.E.P. will give an answer to a permit application. They'll just have to be more efficient about it, and if there's any doubt, the answer will be no," said Mr. McGreevey, who says his record on environmental policy should ease the concerns of New Jerseyans who fear additional sprawl.

    Many environmentalists say now that the governor and fellow Democrats have pushed through an initiative that is so pro-developer, they have suddenly grown wary of Mr. McGreevey, their longtime ally. Conservationists say that the streamlined permitting plan has undermined the process so severely thatthey will have far less power to fight undesirable developments. And that, environmentalists say, is too high a price to pay, even for a goal as ambitious as preserving the Highlands.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #20

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    July 5, 2004

    McGreevey Assailed on Bill Easing Developers' Permits

    By LAURA MANSNERUS

    From most every beach blanket on the Jersey Shore, the message was visible. A banner pulled by a plane from Cape May to Sandy Hook yesterday implored, "SAVE NJ," and urged a call to the governor telling him to veto the "polluter paradise bill." It included his office telephone number.

    The old-fashioned stunt capped a week of news conferences around the state at which environmental advocates, labor and housing lobbyists and local officials pleaded for Gov, James E. McGreevey to veto recent legislation that allows developers to get environmental permits on an expedited schedule.

    And so a week that should have brought some relief for Mr. McGreevey, who had just won his campaign to curb development in the New Jersey Highlands and saw his expansive new budget successfully through the Legislature, instead brought a fresh round of assaults.

    The attack comes from the same people who praised Mr. McGreevey just a month ago for the Highlands legislation. Now they say his agreement to what is known as the fast-track bill threatens to despoil the coast, increase urban pollution, hasten the proliferation of Wal-Marts and cripple regulations that protect workers from hazardous materials.

    "It is a horrible bill," Paul Chrystie, the director of the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment, said at a news conference of two dozen angry environmental advocates. "It rolls back 30 years of environmental protection."

    Aside from having spokesmen dismiss the calls for a veto, Mr. McGreevey made no public response. But in an interview on Friday, the governor said he was perplexed by his old allies.

    "We have arguably the most aggressive environmental policy in the county," he said. Recalling his decision 14 months ago to bar construction near reservoirs and waterways, he said: "I got the same response from the other side. I was vilified by the builders."

    Responding to suggestions that he bowed to threats by the South Jersey Democrats and Democratic county leaders - more-or-less constant adversaries in his own party - who had held the Highlands plan hostage at the behest of developers and building-trades unions, the governor said only, "It was necessary to achieve balance."

    While some people in his administration say the fast-track bill is not what Mr. McGreevey really wanted, the governor insists that it advances his long-held goal of revitalizing the cities and sagging older suburbs.

    The bill expedites the environmental permitting process in areas the state has designated suitable for development, a total of about one-third of New Jersey's land area. It gives state officials 45 days to determine whether an application is complete and an additional 45 days to grant or deny a permit. An application would automatically be deemed complete if officials did not ask for additional information within the first 45 days, and the permit is automatically granted if the state does not act.

    The legislation also establishes a "smart growth ombudsman" to act as an advocate for builders and to review all regulations affecting the state's master plan for development. The bill's opponents say this would effectively confer veto authority over a vast array of environmental, housing and even labor regulations.

    The governor said that in the areas designated for growth, projects should not be mired in a process intended to protect pristine areas.

    "The difficulty today is that government itself does not differentiate between an application which will ultimately destroy open space and an application that will rebuild a destroyed neighborhood," he said.

    Mr. McGreevey and his environmental commissioner, Bradley M. Campbell, note that the legislation does not change any environmental laws or standards or override local zoning and planning decisions.

    But many of the bill's opponents were surprised to learn that they were in what the governor calls growth areas. At news conferences in a number of sites around the state, environmentalists and local officials protested that applications for permits in growth areas to allow developments that involved sewage discharge, toxic waste management and wetlands use could never be properly reviewed in 45 days.

    Critics have also raised legal objections. Last week Jane Kenny, the regional administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, warned the governor's chief counsel that the changes could not proceed without federal approval.

    In addition, the environmental advocates say, they are still infuriated by Mr. McGreevey's agreement with the Legislature's Democratic leaders to expedite the bill itself; it was introduced on June 14 and won approval without debate three days later.

    "It was clear from the very first moment that marching orders had been given to the Legislature to pass this bill," said Rick Engler, the director of the New Jersey Work and Environment Council, "It didn't matter how bad the bill was." Last week the council sent notices to 800 union officials urging them to complain to Mr. McGreevey.

    If the bill has become a vehicle for fears about development, Mr. McGreevey said, some public discussion would have helped. "I would have preferred a slower, more deliberate process," he said. "But that's the way the legislative process works."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  6. #21

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    We need to focus growth in the older inner suburbs, because what happens when land runs out? We will have the New York suburbs looking like LA's suburbs (yuck). Quality over quantity people. Maybe some of the sunbelt cities could use a little more growth, the rest of the country is fine as far as population goes.

  7. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by urban quest-ion
    We need to focus growth in the older inner suburbs, because what happens when land runs out? We will have the New York suburbs looking like LA's suburbs (yuck). Quality over quantity people. Maybe some of the sunbelt cities could use a little more growth, the rest of the country is fine as far as population goes.
    I agree with everything except the sunbelt comment. The Sunbelt needs to be left undeveloped.


    The NY metro needs to invest in multi-family housing. That would fit tens of millions.

  8. #23

    Default Middle class being priced out of housing

    Ah... is all I can say. What I want to know, is why "do people have to have huge homes?" I mean, homes built fifty years ago were fine? So, p eople shared bedrooms, didn't have three car garages, or five bathrooms, and eight bedrooms. I view myself, as someone who loves where I currently live, in Northern NJ. I live in an apartment. My husband just graduated with a B.A and have been working for about five years in fundraising. We two individuals, who would love to by a home, I wou ld love to stay in this area, professionally it is good for me, nearby family, diversity is great, but to purchase as home will be almost impossible. So, most likely we will not stay here. Maybe move to upstate NY we will see. I hate how the houseing market haS priced individuals such as myself out of the market.

    I actually told my husband the other day "that we should move into one of those new communities for fifty five and older" the homes are smaller, more resonably prices, so heck why not?

    Vicks

  9. #24
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Because there is less room.

    Sometimes you want to have more room than "just enough".

    It is hard when you have 2 or 3 kids all in the same 8x10 room (as me and my siblings were for a short time at my grandparents when we were moving from one place to another that was not completed yet).

    What I want to know is why are so many people happy with living in shoeboxes right next to each other? Ever notice that the closer people live to their neighbors, the less they pay attension to them?

    I have seen lots of housewarming, conversations, and dinner meetings from people in the same neighborhood when they have a bit of space between each other, but when you stick them right next to each other it is like some social wall of privacy goes up between them so they don't have to picture the couple next door when they hear thumping at 2AM on a Friday night....

  10. #25

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    /\ As for the "Shoeboxes create anti-social people" argument, explain why Europe and Asia have far less social problems than the US? They live in shoeboxes, I guess they're evil people.


    "More than "just enough"" is the attitude that has gotten us to where we are today. I won't argue with you that you want it all. Just keep in the back of your mind that evenutally, there will be nothing.

    Suburbs are no more social and no more real. And if the countryside is so great, why are you in Hoboken? I'll gladly take your apartment.

  11. #26
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex ballard
    /\ As for the "Shoeboxes create anti-social people" argument, explain why Europe and Asia have far less social problems than the US? They live in shoeboxes, I guess they're evil people.
    Now you are being confrontory.

    You are taking a situation like Europe, something different than what I was talking about, and giving that to me as a comparison. How is it in the more modern urban areas of europe? How social are areas of Taiwan and Tokyo?

    I never called them Evil, you are starting to put words in my mouth to express your opinion of anyone whose train of thought does not run parallel with yours..




    "More than "just enough"" is the attitude that has gotten us to where we are today. I won't argue with you that you want it all. Just keep in the back of your mind that evenutally, there will be nothing.
    What kind of orwellian nonsense is that? Whi is it that countries that do have more SPACE (regardless of how much living room SF they have) are now in the midst of a population reduction?

    The US still has a huge immigration influx as well as a large birth rate. We will see problems with this thing in the future, but saying that the US, or even the worlds population will keep expanding without limit is not looking at the whole picture.

    Suburbs are no more social and no more real. And if the countryside is so great, why are you in Hoboken? I'll gladly take your apartment.
    My parents live in the Suburbs. They work in the suburbs, they know their neighbors.

    By grandmother just had her 90th birthday party yesterday in the back yard of my parents that was large enough to fit relatives and HER NEIGHBORS that lived next to her before she moved out 10 years ago.

    I am in Hoboken because I work in NYC. One of the things I HATE about it is the inherent anti-social attitude and isolation that a lot of people have here. They are not mean, they just have all their own friends already. They move in with their own social circle and move out the same way.

    So are you finished being ascerbic, sarcastic and personally degrading or do you want to ask me about my love life as well? :P

  12. #27

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    /\ It goes both ways. How would your suburb accept your Hoboken friends? Also, I never got good vibes from Hoboken, so maybe it's a Jersey thing...

  13. #28
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    The state does have to be careful about overdeveloping because nature is more important than development. While progess is important, so is nature and preservation of our valuable open space. The balance between nature and human ingenuity and development is important to the success of a state as well as its cities and towns.

  14. #29
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    I know ALL my neighbors, and I live in Hoboken. I have people over that live in my building/on my block every single week. Alex, sorry to hear you have never gotten good vibes here. There are some cool people here. I have NO interest in the suburbs, and yes I have kids. "Just enough" is fine with me. I can afford a McMansion if I wanted one, but for me that would be too far away from society. I want my children to grow up with a more world view. I want them to meet people from different cultures and learn social skills that I think you can only get from living in our "shoebox".
    Ninja, I think it's great how different your view is of living in Hoboken. It's only a square mile and you are clearly an educated and articulate person. And yet we have such different perceptions of our environment. It is that very diversity (not to mention unique restaurants, shops, etc...) that I want my children to soak up and learn from. Then when we visit family in the suburbs we can go to dinner at Applebee’s and that too would be different for them.

  15. #30
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Ninja, to be honest, maybe your building is one of the lame ones because I met all my neighbors in Hoboken too. My brothers and sisters all live in the suburbs and all have very different amount of contact with their neighbors - from "a lot" to "little or none". There are lots of factors, and from what I've seen,
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    Ever notice that the closer people live to their neighbors, the less they pay attension to them?
    doesn't hold true.

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