MORRISTOWN – Who is required to ensure the construction of thousands of affordable housing units when major Meadowlands projects such as Xanadu are built?
That “conundrum,” as Appellate Division Judge Donald Coburn described it Tuesday, was the subject of a two-hour hearing at the Morris County Courthouse that had two state agencies and the borough of East Rutherford each disavowing responsibility.
“We do not belong in this case, your honor,” said Timothy O’Neill, attorney for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. The agency runs the Meadowlands Sports Complex site where the $2 billion Xanadu entertainment and retail complex is being constructed.
“We do zoning for people versus trucks versus landfills – not Mount Laurel obligations,” said Deputy Attorney General Barbara Conklin, representing the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. Conklin was referring to the landmark 1975 state Supreme Court ruling that requires each municipality to provide affordable housing.
“East Rutherford keeps getting fingers pointed at it for (affordable housing), but there’s simply no room,” Borough Attorney Beverly Wurth said, adding that 75 percent of East Rutherford’s land is managed by either or both state agencies.
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