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January 24, 2011

Re:  URGENT ALERT: Affordable Housing/COAH

  1. Governor conditionally vetoes S-1
  2. State Supreme Court stays March 8 deadline to develop new rules

Dear Mayor:

We would like to update you on two significant developments related to affordable housing.

I. Governor conditionally vetoes S-1

Today, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed S-1/A-3447, which would abolish COAH and make other changes to the State’s housing laws.

The League outlined its opposition to S-1 in both the January 11 Dear Mayor letter and January 14 Dear Mayor letter.    In short, S-1 would have increased the obligations for municipalities statewide while reducing funding and lessen the protection for municipalities.  

Therefore, the League thanks and commends the Governor for his action.   

In issuing the conditional veto, the Governor stated, “This version perpetuates the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) nightmare by placing further burdens on municipalities and the environment while creating rather than eliminating additional bureaucracies in order to satisfy the needs of special interests.   I believe this bill should be amended to return it to its original, beneficial form as passed by the Senate. ”     

The bill is now returned to the Legislature for consideration.   We are reviewing the conditional veto and will provide our analysis to you in the upcoming days. (click here for the conditional veto document)

II. State Supreme Court stays March 8 deadline to develop new rules

On Friday we received a copy of an order from the State Supreme Court granting COAH’s request for a stay of the Appellate Division decision, a motion which the League supported. 

For background, the Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of COAH, filed a motion with the Supreme Court to stay the direction to adopt new rules using the first and second round methodology by March 8, 2011.    Subsequently, the League filed papers in support of their motion.

Last week, the Appellate Division ordered COAH to file bi-weekly reports on their progress in meeting the March 8 deadline.    The Supreme Court order now effectively trumps the Appellate Division decision.    The order to develop new regulations by March 8 is now stayed, pending further action of the Supreme Court.

We are hopeful that this is an indication that the State Supreme Court will grant the petitions for certification, including the petition filed by the League, and bring order to the chaotic situations that the municipalities have had to deal with for the last several years. 

Questions may be directed to Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x120. 

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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