PERIOD ON "3RD ROUND REGULATIONS END"
The 60-day comment
period for the newly proposed COAH "3rd round"
regulations has now ended. The League submitted comments
that are available on our website. Included in our comments
was that COAH carefully consider the impact of the provision
that certificates of occupancy issued after January 1, 2004
count towards the "growth share" obligation will
have on many communities in the State. Since many communities
are only now seeing developments come online that were approved
years ago, we note that there is no way such municipalities
could have anticipated a "growth share" obligation,
particularly for commercial development.
We also asked
COAH to consider what the impact of this provision will
be in municipalities that host universities, hospitals and
other non-profit organizations.
The League objected
to the new requirement that municipalities that will require
COAH certified municipalities to receive "initial plan
endorsement." We are concerned that this provision
undermines the legislative intent of both the Fair Housing
Act and the State Planning Act, both of which clearly state
that participation with COAH or the State Planning Commission
is voluntary. The League also considers it unwise to make
"initial plan endorsement" process a requirement
since it is an untested process. As of today, only one municipality
has even begun the process.
We did reiterate,
however, our support for the underlying "growth share"
concept, which is a more rational approach than previous
COAH is in now
in the process of reviewing submitted comments. We anticipate
that the Council will move 3rd round regulations in the
next couple of months. The League is holding a program on
the newly proposed regulations at our annual conference
on Thursday, November 18, 10:45 AM, Room 303 of the Atlantic
City Convention Center. Once the Conference is over, we
likely schedule additional workshops and seminars on the
new regulations as well.
REGARDING "COAH EXTENDED SUBSTANTIVE CERTIFICATION"
On October 13,
COAH passed emergency regulations to assure the continued
COAH protections for municipalities with "extended
certification." They were effective as of October 14.
As you may recall,
the League provided the lead on behalf of the impacted municipalities
in response to the attempts by the New Jersey Builders'
Association (NJBA) and the Coalition for Affordable Housing
and the Environment (CAHE) to strip away the COAH certification
from these communities and expose them to builder's remedy
Appellate Court decision supported the League's position
that COAH has the authority to promulgate "extended
certification" regulations. The Court, however, struck
down a portion of the existing regulations regarding public
notice and public participation, and ordered COAH to correct
the regulations in 60-days.
COAH's actions on October 13 should satisfy the Court's
requirement. Under the emergency regulations, municipalities
will have 60 days from the effective date of the regulations
to resubmit for extended certification. The municipalities
with extended certification should also receive notification
and information on how to submit the necessary documentation
regulations will be in effect until December 12. COAH plans
to readopt the regulations after public comment at its December
meeting. That should keep the immunity in place.
If your municipality
has received "extended substantive certification"
from COAH, you should speak to your attorney(s) to submit
the necessary paperwork to COAH. We are informed by COAH
that the 111 municipalities impacted by this issue will
receive correspondence from COAH on the issue immediately.
It is our understanding that information was sent via FedEx
to the Mayors yesterday and to the municipal clerks via
regular mail. Information is also available on COAH's website
the NJBA is appealing the Appellate Court's decision to
the State Supreme Court. The League has responded to the
Court in opposition to the NJBA petition.
If you have any
questions on this issue, please contact Mike Cerra at (609)