The Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) met for the first time in almost a year on April 30th to consider a Third Round regulations proposal. The meeting is a result of a schedule the NJ Supreme Court has set to enact new affordable home development guidelines.
There public comment period will include a hearing on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency office in Trenton. COAH has also scheduled two other meetings for the remainder of 2014, those dates are Wednesday, August 13, 2014 and Friday, October 31, 2014.
COAH’s decision to move forward with a rule proposal is the result of litigation brought by Fair Share Housing Center earlier this year. In an order issued in March 2014, the New Jersey Supreme Court established a timeframe for COAH to adopt new rules to implement the Mount Laurel doctrine, setting November 17, 2014 as the date by which new rules must be adopted. The Court ordered that the first step to comply with the November 17, 2014 deadline was for COAH to complete and formally approve the proposed Third Round rules by May 1, 2014.
It is unclear if the proposed Third Round regulations will adequately protect the interests of working families, lower-income seniors, and people with special needs. COAH’s proposal of rules may constitute progress in compliance with the Court’s order, or may amount to a further effort by the Christie Administration to undermine the Mount Laurel doctrine and defy what the law requires. That remains to be seen.