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June 11, 2013                                    URGENT Alert

Re: Appellate Division Order, Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Funds

Dear Mayor,

As indicated in our Friday letter, (please see http://www.njslom.org/letters/2013-0607-Affordable-Housing.html) the Appellate Division issued a further  order late Friday on the emergent application for a  stay  regarding seizure of the municipal affordable housing trust funds.  

While the Court vacated the stay on the taking of the trust funds, it did so under certain conditions and additional requirements on the NJ Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).    In doing so, the Court modified COAH’s May 1, 2013 Resolution as follows:

  1. The May 1 letters from COAH to municipalities are vacated, and by extension the May 31 follow up is also vacated;
  2. In order to initiate any seizure, COAH must send out new letters and serve all affected parties on the service list, pursuant to NJAC 5:97-8.13(b);
  3. These parties, including municipalities, shall have 30 days from receipt to respond to COAH;
  4. COAH’s Executive Director must consider any evidence provided by the parties and shall respond in writing, with its determination and the basis for it;
  5. With at least 15 days notice to the affected parties, the COAH board must meet to consider the Executive Director’s determination, and may permit an objecting party to address the Board directly;
  6. COAH is prohibited from seizing any funds identified pending a decision by the COAH board. 
  7. An affected party, including a municipality, may seek further relief by directly appealing to the Court.

In doing so, the Court indicates that "COAH has failed to function in a consistent manner with respect to these issues," and the Court is establishing, "...a process that at least comports to the rudimentary notions of due process."  

A copy of the Friday, June 7 order is at:  http://www.njslom.org/letters/Stay-Order-A-5257-11T4.pdf.     Further a copy of the July 2012 court order (which is referenced in the above order) is at: http://www.njslom.org/documents/COAH-ORDER-mccdoc.pdf

Effectively, this means the following for municipalities:

  1. Since COAH must issue new letters, including all parties on the service list (which could number in the thousands) municipalities are no longer under a June 10 deadline to reply to COAH.   The new deadline is not known since it would be 30 days after receipt of a new letter.   
  2. Under no circumstance should any municipality send any trust fund dollars to the State   pending the conclusion of this ongoing process.   

 
There is no information at this time as to any appeal of this order to the NJ Supreme Court.

Since the State FY 2013 budget, which ends on June 30, anticipated the collection of up to $200 million the June 7 Court decision moves any potential seizure of trust fund dollars into the FY 2014 budget, required to be signed by June 30, 2013. 

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

Very truly yours,

Janice S. Mironov,
President, League of Municipalities
Mayor, East Windsor Township

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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