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July 29, 2014

Dear Mayor:

COAH Comments due by Friday

The Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) is accepting comments on its proposed regulations through Friday, August 1.  COAH formally proposed the regulations with its publication in the June 2 New Jersey Register, commencing a 60-day comment period which ends on Friday.   To comply with the New Jersey Supreme Court order, it is anticipated that COAH will adopt regulations at its October meeting and the regulations will be effective upon publication in the November 17 Register.

The League will be filing its comments on the regulations by Friday and will post them on our website.  We urge all municipalities to also submit comments by Friday and to please provide us with a copy.

In a related development, late last month the Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) filed a motion in aid of litigant's rights and asked the Court to invalidate the rule proposal.  Specifically, FSHC claimed that:

1.      COAH manipulated the data to predict the regional need so as to radically reduce that need;

2.      COAH added an inappropriate factor to allocate the regional need that favored municipalities that had been exclusionary; and

3.      FSHC claimed that COAH had an obligation to establish presumptive densities and set-asides for inclusionary development as a means of addressing the need and that its proposed regulations violate that obligation too.

Based upon these purported violations, FSHC asks the Court to order COAH to comply with FSHC's interpretation of the Court's 2013 decision and to devise a process to ensure that result.

In the alternative, FSHC asked the Court to allow developers to bring builder's remedy suits against the 314 municipalities in COAH's jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis so that trial judges can determine the obligations with which municipalities must comply.

The League filed its opposition to the FSHC motion.  Without commenting on the regulations themselves, the League argued that:

1.      The Court should allow COAH to complete the rulemaking process;

2.      That under no circumstance should the Court expose to builder's remedy litigation any of the 314 municipalities that voluntarily sought to comply with its affordable housing obligation by adopting an affordable housing plan and filing that plan with COAH; and

3.      The Court only required COAH to propose rules that allocate the prospective need in a manner "similar" to those COAH used in the first and second housing cycles. COAH did not prohibit COAH from otherwise promulgating regulations authorized by the Fair Housing Act.

FSHC requested oral argument but no action has been taken by the Court.

Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or mcerra@njslom.com.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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