From the Asbury Park Press:
In her Feb. 14 commentary, Judith Stanley Coleman of the Monmouth County Conservation Foundation unfairly dismisses the ideas of developer Ralph Zucker, who proposed some limited residential and commercial high-density projects as an alternative to suburban sprawl.
Coleman’s comments express disdain for ideas that deserve a fair hearing, and she ignores the interests of most New Jerseyans.
Zucker’s proposal could provide needed housing and, by using land more efficiently, could preserve more open space. Granted, it needs to be studied more closely, but his idea rightly recognizes there are various interests that need to be considered. It appears Coleman’s idea is simply: Don’t build any more houses.
She dismisses Zucker’s goal of creating settings where neighbors could greet each other and walk to shops, instead of always using cars, as “idyllic, but nonsensical.” She says this is “not any New Jersey community (she’s) ever seen.” That’s true; it’s not like anything we’ve seen. That’s the whole point. If we stick with what we’ve seen, we never will solve the problem of disappearing open land.
Why not let ideas like Zucker’s be tested in the free market? If New Jerseyans don’t like the concept, they will not buy those houses. On the other hand, if people find such houses affordable and of good quality, they will support the idea in the sincerest way — they’ll buy the houses. Working folks always are looking for good location and good value in housing.
Coleman is critical of the fact that high-density housing is cheaper to build, per unit, than other housing, thereby resulting in what she calls “newfound profits” for the developers. What’s wrong with making a profit from a good idea? Does she expect developers to abandon their business interests and convert all of their energies to philanthropy? She seems to be condemning developers simply for engaging in their profession.
Coleman says developers will use their profits to “live in those sprawling McMansions” themselves. She apparently doesn’t like that kind of house and doesn’t like the alternative that was proposed either. Perhaps Coleman finally would be satisfied if we eliminated middle-class housing altogether and moved our families out of the county, leaving it for those who she feels deserve the land.