Mason, Griffin & Pierson, P.C.

COAH Update July 2013

The legal issues related to affordable housing continue. On June 7, 2013, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division issued another order concerning the Christie Administration’s attempt to forfeit to the State approximately $160 million of municipal affordable housing trust funds. In the latest development, the Court canceled the COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) letter of May 1, 2013 and directed municipalities to send a report to COAH outlining exactly how their trust funds have been "committed". The municipal trust funds are comprised of funds that were collected by the municipalities over four or more years ago.

The Court also requires that in addition to notifying the municipalities who hold the funds, all parties impacted by the loss of the local affordable housing trust funds will have to be notified. Doing so will assure that all parties affected by the proposed forfeiture will be given an opportunity to contact COAH and explain why the money should remain designated for use in legitimate, local affordable housing projects.

All municipalities attempting to keep their trust money should review their official COAH service list and update that list so that it includes any for-profit or non-for-profit developers that they are working with regarding affordable housing projects. The updated list should be sent immediately to COAH with a request that it be used as the municipal service list and, and in particular, to be used as the “service list required by the Appellate Division order of June 7, 2013.”

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