Late Friday afternoon, it was announced that the Assembly Appropriations Committee will be meeting on Thursday, February 8 to consider several bills related to affordable housing including A-4.
A continuation of efforts made at the end of the last legislative session, A-4 would make substantial changes to the Fair Housing Act
The League continues to have significant concerns with many provisions in A-4 and expressed them at prior committee hearings in both the Senate and Assembly. The League will continue to work with the bills’ sponsors and the Administration to seek amendments to address these concerns.
The bill would eliminate the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and replace it with a program within the judiciary to resolve disputes related to affordable housing. The legislation, in its current form, would also severely limit and in some instances eliminate the availability of bonus credits.
In addition, the bill dilutes the protections afforded to municipalities against challenges and litigation related to their obligation calculation, housing element, and fair share plans. The strong presumption of validity previously offered through substantive certification from COAH and more recently through judgements of repose obtained from the court would be virtually eliminated.
Other provisions within in the bill include the adoption of a methodology for the calculation and allocation of municipal fair share obligations using techniques in the unpublished court decision, In re Application of Municipality of Princeton, also known as the “Jacobson opinion.”
We are also concerned that without appropriate legislation, municipal affordable housing obligations will continue to be handled exclusively within the courts, which has proven to be a timely and costly endeavor.
The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee has previously advanced a Senate companion bill, S-50 and has been second referenced to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee will meet on Thursday, February 8 at 11 a.m. in Committee Room 11 inside the Statehouse Annex for those that wish to appear in person to express their position on A-4. You may also register your position without the need to testify or appear in person by using the register function on the Legislature’s website.
League Contact(s): Frank Marshall, Esq, Associate General Counsel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 6209-695-3481 x137