Search Site
Menu

COAH Update September 2013

On September 26, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision on the validity of the COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) Third Round Rules. The key issue was whether or not the new proposed “growth share” approach to defining a municipal affordable housing obligation was constitutional. In a 3-2 decision, the Court held that the “growth share ” methodology was not permitted under the current provisions of the New Jersey Fair Housing Act of 1985. The Court found that since the new formula was based on housing needs from statewide (not regional) data for projected employment and residential growth, it would not be permitted under the Act. The Court found that the “growth share” approach was not based on COAH adopted region-specific data and was not structured to establish a firm obligation for each municipality in respect to prospective affordable housing needs. The court, however, did not hold the growth share methodology unconstitutional.
 
The Court sent the matter back to COAH with instructions to come up with a new set of substantive rules within the next five months using the Round One and Round Two methodology. The two Justices who dissented felt that the “growth share” approach was reasonable and realistic and permitted by the Act. Both the majority and minority challenged the New Jersey Legislature to weigh in on the issue if it wanted to permit a different methodology to calculate the Third Round obligations. The decision is now three weeks old and there is still no word from COAH. It is not likely COAH will meet the five month deadline since it has only met twice in the last two years. The Administration still wants to abolish the Council. Doing so would create a staggering task by attempting to apply the old methodology to the current and future municipal obligation.
 
The Third Round was to have started in 1999. Assuming the new rules take effect in 2014, COAH has a fifteen-year catch up period, together with a requirement to establish the municipal obligations for the next ten years. Whatever methodology ends up being adopted will dictate each municipality’s affordable housing obligations for twenty-five years. The previous cycles assigned obligations for six year periods, so one can only imagine what the numbers are going to look like for a quarter of a century of housing obligations. Clearly this calls for a legislative solution.
 
Firm Director Ed Schmierer serves on the New Jersey State League of Municipalities COAH Committee and has already started working with the League on a legislative solution. Many communities were hoping that this most recent Supreme Court decision would clarify matters, but unfortunately, just the opposite has occurred. Affordable housing obligations for municipalities still remain very much up in the air and will likely remain in limbo for the foreseeable future.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  • Priscilla Saint-Laurent, Esq. joins Mason, Griffin & Pierson PC as an Associate.

    Priscilla will be supporting all areas of our practice, but particularly litigation and local government practice groups. Priscilla comes to MG&P from Ansell Grimm & Aaron PC where she concentrated her practice in Community Association Law and Litigation. Prior to joining Ansell, she handled insurance defense cases. Priscilla received a dual degree from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and her Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law.



  • Proud Sponsor: Girls on the Run

    It was great to see the girls running and the community cheering them on. The bi-annual 5K race is a celebration of the participants completing the Girls on the Run curriculum, a life-changing program for 3rd through 8th grade girls that focuses on self-confidence, healthy relationships and feeling good about themselves. MG&P has sponsored Girls on the Run of Central New Jersey for many years and are so pleased to be able to sponsor them again this Spring. Nicole M. Sciotto, Esq.



  • Edwin W. Schmierer, Esq moderates Affordable Housing Panel

    On June 23, 2022, Mason, Griffin & Pierson, PC, Director, Edwin W. Schmierer, Esq., moderated a panel discussion presented by Affordable Housing Professionals of New Jersey (AHPNJ) concerning the status of affordable housing delivery for the Third Round and preparation for the Fourth Round which commences July 1, 2025. Mr. Schmierer is the President of AHPNJ. The panelists included a representative from the Fair Share Housing Center, former Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, the Chief of Multifamily Program for NJHMFA and a professional planner who has served as a Special Court Master in 40 plus municipalities for the implementation of Third Round Affordable Housing Plans. Mr. Schmierer chairs the firm's Government Practice Group which represents over 30 municipal governing bodies, land use board and affordable housing committees throughout the State of New Jersey.



  • Mason, Griffin & Pierson is proud to support Womanspace and the 21st Annual Communities of Light(tm)

    On December 5, 2022, the MG&P team participating in an office lighting of luminaries to support the Communities of Light(tm). The Womanspace 21st Annual Communities of Light(tm) candles line the streets of central New Jersey - a powerful symbol of hope for men, women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in our community. Communities of Light raises awareness of the services available to help those victims in Mercer County. The luminaries help spread the important message that Peace Begins at Home. Womanspace, Inc. is a leading nonprofit agency in Mercer County, New Jersey, that provides a comprehensive array of services to individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence and dedicated to improving the quality of life for adults and their families. Programs include crisis intervention, emergency shelter, counseling, court advocacy and housing services.