JULY 23, 2015 LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2015, 12:32 AM
BY KELLY NICHOLAIDES
STAFF WRITER |
The municipalities of Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Lyndhurst and Rutherford have filed lawsuits in Superior Court against the Council on Affordable Housing and Mt. Laurel ruling.
The municipalities seek declaratory judgment granting temporary immunity from exclusionary zoning lawsuits also known as builder’s remedy lawsuits, five months to complete an updated affordable housing methodology and judgment of compliance and repose, the documents read.
The COAH process has inundated courts since the agency failed to adopt new third round regulations. COAH third-round obligations from 2004 were challenged in 2007, with the Appellate Division invalidating various aspects of regulations, and a revised third round was published in 2008, only to have amendments added. The transfer of jurisdiction to the courts later showed that the growth-share methodology was invalid, and COAH should use methodologies adopted in the first and second rounds. COAH deadlocked on adopting revised third-round regulations, and the Fair Share Housing Center filed a motion to enforce litigants’ rights. The court ruled COAH’s administrative process non-functional, and allowed developers to go directly to court bypassing the agency — setting up towns for lawsuits from builders.
Although municipalities had until July 8 to submit their affordable housing plan to the court, East Rutherford, along with at least 70 municipalities, is asking for a five-month extension from the date of the court ruling and opted to hire experts to come up with a new methodology to calculate fair share housing since COAH failed to adopt revised regulations. The towns hired Robert W. Burchell and Rutgers, in a Municipal Shared Services Defense Agreement to prepare a statewide fair share affordable housing analysis to be undertaken by Rutgers and Burchell. Burchell will analyze any challenges to the Initial Fair Share Analysis and prepare a rebuttal report for the court