August 7, 2012
Re: Affordable Housing Trust Funds
As you may recall, Governor Christie attempted to dissolve the Council on Affordable Housing under an executive branch reorganization plan. Fair Share Housing Center sued the state, arguing that such a move exceeded the Governor’s authority. The Appellate Division agreed and ordered COAH to be reinstated. For more on this, please see our Dear Mayor letter of June 12.
More recently, the League and Fair Share Housing have been involved in litigation to prevent the state from taking any affordable housing trust fund monies because COAH has failed to issue sufficient rules or guidance to municipalities.
Both of these cases remain pending before their respective courts.
On Thursday, August 2, 2012, Fair Share filed two motions to enforce litigant’s rights. Each motion made the same basic argument, but they were each filed under the two separate cases listed above. In those motions, Fair Share argues that only the July 24, 2012 letter from Sean Thompson was improper, and that only the COAH board can authorize the calculation of funds subject to seizure and make demands for payment. The League filed a letter with the court supporting Fair Share’s position in the trust fund litigation. We did not file any papers in the reorganization litigation because we are not a party.
Today, the Appellate Division panel in the reorganization case announced that they would decide the motion on an expedited basis. The state’s response is due this Thursday, August 9, 2012. We are hopeful that the court will announce their decision before the Monday, August 13 deadline, but obviously we cannot predict their schedule.
We urge you to discuss the impact of these cases with your municipal attorney. As always, we will keep you updated on any further developments.
Additionally, the League, joined by a panel of Mayors, will present testimony tomorrow to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee. The Committee will be taking testimony on the status of the housing trusts and on the future of affordable housing. For additional background please see our most recent letter on the issues, the Dear Mayor of August 3.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Staff Attorney Matthew Weng at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 609-695-3481 ext 137 or Mike Cerra at email@example.com or 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.