Both sides can work to negotiate a solution in affordable housing dispute in Princeton

Dear Editor,

Princeton Community Housing recently wrote to the Princeton Mayor and Council urging them to come to a settlement in their affordable housing suit without mentioning that The Fair Share Housing  Center is the other party in the negotiation to determine Princeton’s fair share allocation of affordable homes.

We also neglected to mention that The NJ Supreme Court required a special master to participate in all affordable housing lawsuits as a neutral mediator, to facilitate such settlements.

We have successfully partnered with Princeton officials to provide 466 affordable rental homes in our town and we are currently collaborating on preliminary planning to provide additional rental homes at Princeton Community Village, in accordance with the municipal Housing Plan. In addition, the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ awarded
Princeton its Outstanding Municipal Partner Award in 2014 in recognition of the municipality’s leadership in and commitment to the creation of affordable homes. In the past two years, the Avalon Bay and Merwick Stanworth properties have provided a total of 112 new rental homes in Princeton.

We also recognize and appreciate Fair Share Housing Center’s role as the leading advocate for those who still need such affordable homes and the approximately 100 settlement agreements that Fair Share Housing Center has successfully realized with other NJ municipalities.

Given this history, we are sure that both sides of any Princeton-related negotiations are represented by people of good will who can find a mutually acceptable solution. As providers of affordable homes, we know that planning and creating new homes is a time consuming endeavor.

Accordingly, we urge Fair Share Housing Center to make such negotiations with Princeton a priority, in order that Princeton can join Ewing, Hamilton, and Robbinsville as Mercer County towns ready to develop an achievable compliance plan that will provide for each of their fair shares of the affordable homes that Mercer County will need between now and 2025.

Best regards,

Rich Gittleman

Mr. Gittleman is the president of the board of trustees for Princeton Community Housing. This letter was originally sent to Kevin Walsh of the Fair Share Housing Center.