Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Day for Joe

I may not have all of the details accurately, but I think I understand the general principles. In New Jersey, there is a law that protects regular people from being shut out of communities that are primarily for the wealthy. The way I understand it, every time there is new construction of any size, the developer is required to provide a certain amount of what is called "affordable" housing; this can be either rented or sold to individuals whose income is below a certain level. Joe has worked with a number of developers in northern New Jersey, designing single family homes and other types of residential architecture. A couple of the developers have retained his services to do the "affordable" components, too.

One township is very protective of its historic buildings and charm, and they worked with the developer on a recent large housing project to assure that the "affordable" housing blended in with the tone of the town. Joe was hired by this town/developer team several years ago to produce the first phase of affordables and today was the ribbon-cutting for the final phase. The units he designed are similar in style to the large homes in the area. What looks like a McMansion is actually two or four homes. One building type holds two three-bedroom townhomes and the other building type holds three two-bedroom and one one-bedroom unit. The picture above is one of the latter types.

The congresswoman that Andrew works for down in D.C. serves on a committee that is concerned with housing for the poor on a national level and Joe thought Andrew might find this project interesting. So Andrew and Amy drove up from D.C. today to tour the town, see the various phases, explore the model units, and have dinner with us before driving back home.

I'd spent much of the past week with Sherry, Chris, et al., and it was so nice to spend a large portion of today with A&A, enjoying their pride in Joe's accomplishment and hearing what they have been up to.

A different sort of a day, and a really good one, too.


The Calico Cat said...

They tried to do this in the Northern Virginia area (Tyson's Corner) but when they wrote the contract they used the word "maximum" instead of "minimum" skewing the project in the direction that they were trying to avoid.

Aside: Tyson's is known for shopping & those people should be able to live fairly close to where they work - but even at the swankiest shops, they don't get paid enough for the rents in that area!

Guenveur in Kent said...

This is such a terrific idea and so beautifully realized. I love the windows and the whole design. Hoorah for Joe!
I wonder how "affordable" these places are, though. I don't know how anyone can afford a houe these days. Here in Kent, rents are outrageous, even for crappy srudent housing. I guess if you can find a decent place for under $800 a month, that's affordable. Even so, that's a huge chunk of many people's income, isn't it?

Susan said...

Paul grew up in New Jersey, which you may not know. He was born in Morristown, while his family lived in Far Hills/Bedminster. Then they moved to Bernardsville and he and I lived next door in Basking Ridge.

He said back in the '70s this was started when a couple of townships were sued because there was no place for "normal" people to live. Interesting that the laws are still around.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful!!! Give Joe a big hug for me. The homes are beautiful. This is a marvelous idea!!!