Report: Zoning Practices Promote Sprawl, Housing Segregation

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STATE — Municipal zoning in New Jersey has resulted in a land-use pattern promotes sprawl and limits the availability of affordable housing, according to a new study.

The report, from Rowan University’s Geospatial Research Laboratory under a research contract with the Fair Share Housing Center and funded by a grant from the Fund for New Jersey, concluded that exclusionary zoning and sprawl development have worsened in the last four decades. Further, the preponderance of large-lot zoning in place today puts New Jersey on track to a future of further sprawl and housing segregation.


“By consuming practically all remaining residentially zoned land, large-lot subdivisions are locking in a residential land-use pattern that excludes many New Jersey households that cannot afford a large-lot single-family home,” the study concluded.

The study found that the Fair Housing Act of 1985, which was intended to eliminate exclusionary zoning in accordance with the state Supreme Court’s Mount Laurel rulings, has made modest progress in promoting a mix of housing choices near jobs. Absent further enforcement of these rulings, however, together with stricter adherence to land-use practices consistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, the study concluded that sprawl and housing segregation will worsen.

The full report is available online at Rowan University’s website.


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