March 19, 2009
Re: Affordable Housing Update Local Mandates Ruling in Medford Township Challenge
Yesterday, the Council on Local Mandates considered the complaint filed by Medford Township which asserted the COAH 3rd round regulations and PL 2008, c. 46 (aka A-500) were unfunded State mandates. The League participated as amicus (“friend of the court”) in support of Medford. The League was represented by Michael Butler, Esq. of the firm Mason, Griffin and Pierson. We thank Mr. Butler for his advocacy on our behalf and on behalf of our taxpayers.
The Council did not address the substantive issues related to the validity of the COAH regulations or the law. Instead, the Council ruled that it does not have jurisdiction in the matter. The basis of this ruling is the provision in the state constitution which exempts constitutional obligations from the local mandates provision.
Since the Council did not weigh the substantive issues, but rather dismissed the complaint on jurisdictional grounds, this decision has no impact on the League’s on-going challenge of the COAH regulation in the Appellate Division. In fact, members of the Council expressed reservations during the oral argument about dealing with the substantive issues since these issues are currently in front of the Appellate Division.
To date, 258 municipalities have pledged support to the League’s challenge of the COAH 3rd round regulations. COAH filed their response brief to the League and to the other appellants on March 9. The League will file a response to COAH on or around April 9. After that, the Appellate Division will schedule oral argument.
A summary of the League’s brief challenging the COAH regulations filed with the Appellate Division on January 5, is online at: http://www.njslom.org/COAH-Executive-Summary-NJLM-Challenge.pdf
Questions can be directed to Michael Cerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.