David Brogan, executive director and executive vice president of the New Jersey Apartment Association, speaks during the organization’s annual meeting on Jan. 26.
By Joshua Burd
The New Jersey Apartment Association has stepped up its lobbying efforts in policy issues affecting the state’s overall business community, as it continues to advocate for legislation that will help the multifamily housing industry.
That was a key piece of the message last week from the association’s leaders as it hosted its annual meeting and inducted its newest slate of officers. As the NJAA’s membership continues to grow — it now represents more than 190,000 units and 400 vendor companies in the state — organization recapped 2016 a year of progress in several areas, including attendance at events, education and fundraising for its philanthropic efforts.
On the lobbying front, NJAA Executive Director David Brogan said the association “stopped or stalled” more than a dozen bills in Trenton that would have negatively impacted multifamily owners and servicers, including those tied to municipal licensure of apartments and a prohibition on lightweight construction. At the same time, the group pushed for changes such as a regulation to help more of its owners comply with requirements for retrofitting windowless basements and realize savings of some $10,000 per property.
“More importantly, our association is now being used as a critical player and a leader when it comes to legislation or ordinances that impact broader business interests,” Brogan said, such as the elimination of the estate tax and statewide requirements for paid sick leave.
“We’ll continue these efforts in 2017,” he added, pointing to issues such as affordable housing, rent control and others.
The annual meeting and cocktail reception, held in the Somerset section of Franklin, allowed the NJAA to recount several other successes in 2016. Last May, the nonprofit drew more than 1,600 property owners, managers, developers, leasing agents, vendors and maintenance staff to Atlantic City for its annual conference and expo.
Meantime, during the course of the year, the NJAA saw attendance at its educational courses jump by 31 percent, according to the organization. Through its charitable fund, the group raised $20,000 in college scholarships and hosted its annual holiday party for more than 1,000 children from underserved communities, who went home with toys donated by NJAA members.
Brogan also touted a record year of fundraising for the group’s political action committee, which raised more than $221,000 in 2016 and staged a reception last fall that drew some 150 attendees and two dozen lawmakers.
Lynne Aber, the president of the NJAA, also introduced Stephen Waters of Morgan Properties, who was named president-elect and will succeed her next year. In the meantime, she said she will make sure the organization continues to “provide value for all facets” of the industry.
For instance, the NJAA has developed an ad hoc rent control committee.
“This group is exploring ways to implement advocacy and public relations strategies in an effort to eliminate or improve rent control ordinances in key municipalities throughout the state,” Aber said.
The NJAA’s newly inducted slated of board members include:
- Tania Brown, Community Investment Strategies
- Charlene Delia, Western Pest Services
- Bill Diggs, Renaissance Equity LLC
- Larry Falkow, The Apts
- Jeffrey Garfinkel, Sterling Properties
- Jonathan Gershen, Gershen Group
- Andrew Goldberg, RestoreCore
- Michael Goldberg, Goldberg Realty
- Tracey Goldstein, Esq., Feinstein, Raiss, Kelin & Booker
- Brian Henry, Apartments.com
- Richard Kingston, Morgan Properties
- Scott Machlovitz, Hilton Realty
- Paul McGrath, City Fire Equipment Co.
- Andrew Rosen, Solomon Organization
- Jessica Scully, Scully Co.
- Joseph Spadaccini, The Kamson Corp.
- Lewis Zlotnick, Woodmont Properties