COAH Standstill Creating Havoc for New Jersey Businesses and Municipalities
by Patrick McNamara
The lack of consensus surrounding New Jersey affordable housing policy is creating havoc for municipalities and businesses struggling to make sense of the current legal landscape. While the New Jersey judicial, legislative, and executive branches have all taken a turn at crafting a solution, the state remains at a virtual standstill.
How Did We Get Here?
The tangled web of court decisions and legislative action can be traced back to the 1975 New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mount Laurel, which established that municipalities were obligated to use their zoning powers to foster the development of housing affordable to low and moderate income families. After a subsequent Supreme Court decision in 1983 reaffirming the principles set out in its 1975 ruling, the State Legislature enacted the Fair Housing Act and created a new agency, the Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”), to administer the new law.
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