Republicans Want to Wrest Control of Affordable Housing from NJ Courts

Three years after the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the judiciary responsibility for determining local affordable housing obligations, the process has resulted in 215 municipalities negotiating agreements with housing advocates that could result in the construction of tens of thousands of homes — some affordable and others market-rate.

Although the justices urged the state Legislature to take back control of the process in March 2015, when they judged the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) no longer capable of overseeing it, Superior Court judges are continuing to decide housing issues, sometimes over the loud objections of elected officials.

Without legislative action, the justices set up a process by which municipalities can seek court approval for their housing plans, which often happens through negotiations with housing advocates. Those that do not get court approval leave themselves open to lawsuits from builders and, potentially, the requirement to allow high-density housing within their borders.

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