On March 10, 2015 the New Jersey Supreme Court declared the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”) to be “moribund” and returned enforcement
of the Fair Housing Act and the Mount Laurel Doctrine to New Jersey’s trial courts, a decision that decision reaffirms the Mount Laurel Doctrine on municipal affordable housing obligations and ushers in a new era of intense fair share housing planning and production.
In order to help municipalities, builders, planners, nonprofits, advocates, and citizens prepare for and adopt updated municipal housing elements and fair share plans, Together North Jersey teamed with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (HCDN-NJ) to produce Developing Effective Municipal Housing Plans. This guide will help all stakeholder create realistic housing opportunities, and obtain court determinations of municipal fair share housing obligations and approvals of compliance plans.
Here is a snapshot of what you’ll find in the guide:
- A brief history of the Mount Laurel Doctrine, its origins, achievements, and role in the production of affordable housing in New Jersey over the past 45 years, and provides some facts on housing built and affordable housing needs.
- An over view of the Supreme Court’s decision in In re N.J.A.C. 5:96 and 5:97, 221 N.J. 1 (2015), its background, key rulings, and process, guidance, and standards established for updating municipal housing plans.
- The purpose, required contents, and typical process for preparing and adopting fair share housing plans. Municipalities can create affordable housing opportunities that satisfy their fair share housing obligations in several ways. The guide also identifies the principal compliance mechanism options, their key features, and advantages and disadvantages, and uses case studies of actual developments to illustrate the most common mechanisms.
- An explanation of several important principles of COAH and rules were previously established that should be considered in preparing municipal housing elements and fair share plan and providing incentives for certain compliance.
- An update on municipal affordable housing trust funds – a significant resource available for the collection and disbursement of development fees.
- To assist nonprofits and advocates in participating in fair share housing planning at the municipal level, this guide spells out what steps municipalities must take, opportunities for public comment and influence, and judicial proceedings that may be anticipated.
- Finally, to underscore the crucial point that decent, affordable housing helps communities, families, and individuals in myriad ways, the guide concludes with some findings of recent research and cases studies of the impacts of affordable housing.