A-3326 was recently reported favorably out of the Assembly Health Committee, with committee amendments. The Senate companion bill, S-1676, has already been approved by the full Senate. The intent of this legislation is to allow hospitals to construct housing and provide wrap-around services for individuals who are homeless or housing insecure. Additionally, the legislation would make housing constructed, rehabilitated or remediated by a hospital for these purposes would be a permitted use in all residential and nonresidential districts, and exempt from local zoning restrictions.
While providing housing and health services to those in need is a laudable goal fully supported by the League, we oppose A-3326/S-1676 because of the unnecessarily broad and unwarranted exemption from zoning regulations.
Zoning regulations help guide development in an orderly fashion and help prevent conflicts between different types of use. Zoning regulations are adopted after thoughtful and careful consideration and such a broad exemption, even for an important purpose, undermines these efforts. Without the need to adhere to zoning requirements housing could be development in an area not suitable for such use, putting the health and safety of our communities at risk.
There are viable alternatives available that would help achieve the goal of providing necessary housing while ensuring important zoning regulations are followed. The League has met with the sponsors of A-3326’s staff to express these concerns and offer these alternatives. We are hopeful that these concerns will be considered and amendments can be made to ensure the health and safety of our communities.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq, Associate General Counsel, FMarshall@njlm.org or 609-695-3481 x.137.