NJ Supreme Court Rejects COAH’s Third Round Regulations
New Jersey Supreme Court Rejects COAH’s Third Round Regulations
On Thursday, the New Jersey Supreme Court, by a 3-2 vote, rejected the Council on Affordable Housing’s proposed third round regulations which employed a "growth share" methodology, by which the quantity of low-moderate-priced housing was determined upon projected population and commercial growth within a municipality. This is welcome news to many developers who feared that the regulations allowed municipalities to slow development and growth so that their fair share obligation of providing affordable housing would be avoided. In the Matter of the Adoption of N.J.A.C. 5:96 and 5:97 by the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing, the Court held that the Third Round Rules are at odds with the Fair Housing Act, and exceed COAH's rule-making authority under that Act. Specifically, the Court rejected the "growth share" concept, by which a municipality's affordable housing fair share obligation is determined by actual growth rather than a specific unmet need for affordable housing. The Court's decision requires COAH to adopt new rules based upon the former first and second round methodologies within five months. Thus, the development community again will have to wait and see what happens. Right now it is unclear whether legislative action will attempt to revise the way affordable housing is allocated among municipalities or whether they will simply return to the methodology utilized before the “growth share” concept was introduced.
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