Affordable Housing Rules
Delayed Until November 17, 2014
In the order issued on Friday March 14th, the New Jersey Supreme Court established a time frame for the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to adopt new rules to implement the Mount Laurel doctrine, setting November 17, 2014 as the date by which new rules must be in place.
This order rejected the State’s request to have an open-ended period of time to adopt rules for COAH, while allowing the State more time to comply with the Supreme Court’s September 26, 2013 decision. A copy of the Court’s order is available here.
“The state did nothing to earn this extension. It is clear that Gov. Christie will still try to interfere with the Mount Laurel doctrine, ” said Kevin D. Walsh, the attorney with Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) who argued the motion before the Appellate Division.
“The bad news is that there will be more delay, but the good news is that we now have a clear date by which the state must act or face the dismantlement of a system that has frustrated compliance with the Mount Laurel doctrine for too long. These delays are hurting working families and people with disabilities who struggle with paying for homes in New Jersey’s expensive housing market. While we think Justice Albin in his dissent, and the Appellate Division in its March 7th order, got it right, the Court correctly rejected the State’s request for an open-ended extension and set a firm date for compliance.”
The Court’s order makes clear that if the State misses the deadline again there will be consequences.
The Court wrote in its order,
It is further ORDERED that in the event that the Council does not adopt Third Round Rules by November 17, 2014, then this motion in aid of litigants’ rights, including but not limited to a request to lift the protection provided to municipalities through N.J.S.A.52:270-313 and, if such a request is granted, actions may be commenced on a case-by-case basis before the Law Division or in the form of “builders remedy” challenges.
The Court’s order follows the Appellate Division’s March 7, 2014 order granting Fair Share Housing Center’s motion to enforce a court order requiring the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to adopt rules within five months. The Supreme Court temporarily stayed the order to allow COAH to address deficiencies in a certification submitted by the State. Further information regarding the motion filed by FSHC is available here.