On September 6, 2012, the New Jersey League of Municipalities reiterated its position on what it felt is the lack of specific direction given regarding the affordable housing trust fund money. The Fair Share Housing Center has obtained and released the trust fund regulations that the Christie Administration proposed, then pulled back at the last minute, that would have given municipalities and developers much needed guidance on what they needed to do to prevent the Administration from taking their municipal housing trust funds.
The 29 pages of regulations address when a municipality is required to hand over its housing funds to the state and when the municipality can retain those funds. The document further adds to the confusing and inconsistent positions the administration has taken in the process of raiding the trust funds, all of which appear to be directed towards taking as much money as possible without any fair or consistent standard.
The League previously claimed that the state’s regulations need clarification, and cited a report from the Fair Share Housing Center, which issued documents as part of an ongoing court case.
As background, in August, an appeals court ruled that the state cannot take control of approximately $142 million in affordable housing funds without first convening the Council on Affordable Housing. These funds were collected under a requirement they be used to address housing affordability and the state is taking them for budget purposes
The administration previously had abolished COAH.
The planned regulations were pulled back, the League said, when an appeals court set aside the order to end COAH.
“The fact that regulations were withdrawn for administrative reasons does not change the underlying statutory requirements,” said league Executive Director Bill Dressel.
The League argues that loss of these funds will lead to tax hikes, putting more pressure on towns that have to comply with a 2 percent tax cap.
Click here for the latest blog post from the Fair Share Housing Center which includes a link to the regulations.
Click here for an editorial from the Star Ledger on the hidden regulations.