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August 10, 2012

Appellate Court Restrains COAH from demanding or receiving housing trust funds.

Dear Mayor:

We just received a copy of the Appellate Division order, issued today, which granted the motion of the Fair Share Housing Center to enforce litigant’s rights.   To quote the order,

“…we hereby restrain COAH staff from demanding or receiving affordable housing trust funds, which have been demanded by COAH staff to be turned over by August 13, 2012.   The COAH’s staff’s request of those funds is ultra vires.   The authorization for such a turnover must come from the COAH Board.   See N.J.S.A 52:27D-329.2.   The COAH Board, as it must now be constituted to comply with our March 8, 2012 judgment, has not met and has not authorized the demand imposed on the municipalities by the letters sent at the discretion of the Acting Executive Director of COAH on July 24, 2012.  Accordingly, the Acting Executive Director and COAH staff are hereby enjoined from seeking a turnover from any municipality of affordable housing trust funds, and any funds that have been turned over shall be returned to the municipality forthwith.”

Since the July 24 letter was an ultra vires action on the part of the Acting Executive Director of COAH, and in view of this ruling, we make the following recommendations:

First, if you have not yet sent in any trust funds to the State, do not.   If you have, you should demand in writing that the funds be returned.   

Second, we recommend that you do not submit a signed certification by the Mayor, as demanded in the July 24 letter until the COAH Board meets and decides how it will proceed.   

Third, notwithstanding the foregoing, if you want to supply information, other than through the certification, to build your record, you should consult with your attorney(s) for guidance. 

Click here for a copy of the Order.  Please check for any updates.    Questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at or 609-695-3481 x120 or Matt Weng at 609-695-3481 x137. 

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director




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