Zoning laws must be amended for sake of middle class

Thomas Kozma is a Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy junior majoring in planning and public policy. His column, “With Liberty and Justice for All,” runs on alternate Thursdays.

Where is it illegal to build a duplex in New Jersey? What about triplexes or fourplexes? These may seem like simple questions, but there are no simple answers. 

Zoning here is a fragmented mess, divided between 565 unique municipalities under the principle of “home rule.” This fragmentation obscures the current housing crisis in New Jersey while making it difficult to implement systemic solutions. 

To fix it, we need a statewide preemption law that would legalize the development of missing middle housing — the range of options between single-family homes and apartment towers, including duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes — on all residential land in New Jersey.  

Daily Targum Opinion, February 25, 2021