January 6, 2009
Re: Affordable Housing/COAH Update
NJLM Brief Filed
Yesterday, the League filed its brief challenging the validity of the “third round” regulations promulgated by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH.) January 5 was the filing deadline for the “institutional appellants,” including the League, the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA), the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NJ-NAIOP) and the Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC.)
We have posted a copy of the League’s brief online. To download, you can either click here, or visit our COAH Resources page. Since the brief and appendix is lengthy (131 pages) we have also posted an Executive Summary of the brief online. To download the Executive Summary, you can click here or also go to our COAH resources page. The League’s brief was prepared by Edward J. Buzak, Esq. and Susan Crawford, Esq. of the Buzak Law Group. We thank them for their hard-work and commitment to these efforts.
To date, 251 municipalities have made or pledged financial contributions towards the League’s challenge of the regulations.
As you know, despite overwhelming support for a delay in the December 31 deadline from the League as well municipal and legislative leaders, COAH refused to consider such an extension. Unfortunately, the result of this will be more taxpayers funded expenditures on these plans when the regulations are again changed as a result of PL 2008, c. 46, any forthcoming legislative amendments and actions directed by the Courts. COAH’s actions, however, are not directly linked to the 24 appeals to its regulations, and the challenges proceed.
The next step in the process comes in early February, when all the other appellants file their briefs challenging the COAH regulations. This group of appellants includes a coalition of 20 municipalities led by Clinton Township (“the Clinton Coalition”) and more than a dozen other individual municipalities who filed their own appeals.
The response filed by the Attorney General’s office, on behalf of COAH, is due in early March. Then all the appellants, the League included, have until early April to file their response briefs.
At this point, any guess as to when an oral argument would be scheduled is purely speculative. It is conceivable that such an oral argument could be scheduled shortly after the submission of the response briefs, and a decision from the Appellate Division in the spring. It is equally conceivable that oral arguments could be scheduled for September, and a decision issued late in the year. We continue to operate under the assumption that the Court, due to the importance of the case, will expedite the matter.
Questions on this letter can be directed to Mike Cerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (609) 695-3481 x120.
Very Truly Yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.