What's priority, boosting economy or protecting senior housing?

Communities in Pennsylvania, our neighboring states and the entire U.S. have to address complex questions due to the state of the economy. New Jersey, for example, is in an ongoing debate about senior housing in the state.

Apparently, there are empty residences that have been designated as senior housing in the past, but now some real estate professionals are wanting to take advantage of empty spaces and home-buying consumers. The real estate dispute asks the state to place one priority over another.

Homes that sit empty on the market are detrimental to the neighborhoods they are in and the overall economy. Limiting who can live in the senior-designated homes prevents other consumers from buying homes and, therefore, building up the economy.

Those who are against the change in real estate law argue that allowing non-senior residents in the homes would have an effect that some are failing to consider. Schools in those areas, for example, would be unequipped to properly handle the growth in student population.

A former mayor from New Jersey, now an attorney, suggests that this debate could be settled if the state government would define what "substantial detriment" means with regards to a community decision. If either side in this real estate dispute had a definition to go off of, they could debate based on the same basis of the term.

Laws are not written in stone; they can change and often should change with the times. A struggling economy is an example of when communities might want to reconsider certain norms in order to try to effect change.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Legislature should lead on N.J. senior housing problem," Paul T. Fader, Nov. 8, 2012


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