Local Leaders Lack Stately Vision

Peter S. Reinhart, senior vice president and general counsel for Edison, N.J.-based K. Hovnanian Cos., believes the ever-populous Garden State needs higher density zoning. But first, state planners must wrest power from municipal leaders, who lack the political will and courage to implement it. "If we continue to allow local authorities to make these decisions without consideration of overall s...
By By Bob Sperber, Senior Editor | November 30, 2004

Peter S. Reinhart, senior vice president and general counsel for Edison, N.J.-based K. Hovnanian Cos.

Peter S. Reinhart, senior vice president and general counsel for Edison, N.J.-based K. Hovnanian Cos., believes the ever-populous Garden State needs higher density zoning. But first, state planners must wrest power from municipal leaders, who lack the political will and courage to implement it.

"If we continue to allow local authorities to make these decisions without consideration of overall state and regional needs, we are doomed to face some very serious economic realities in the not-too-distant future," Reinhart says. He estimates that current trends show a million new residents will consume all of New Jersey's open land in 20 years.

"I am not 100-percent advocating statewide zoning," he says, but he favors more of what he calls a "growth fit approach that identifies the housing needs for the next 20 years and allocates unit growth around the state. Towns can then take their allocated count and figure out how to comply," says Reinhart. At the same time, he wants to see "a total rethinking of funding of government at all levels" to reduce bureaucracy and cut costs.

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