COAH Requirements Still on Table; Third Round Numbers a Year Away
With the New Jersey's Supreme Court's decision to deny Christie's stay on the appellate court's decision that he did not have authority to abolish COAH, Oradell awaits what could be its third round requirements
Earlier in the week, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied a Christie Administration request to suspend the appellate court's ruling that the governor did not have the authority to dismantle COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) because it is an agency that was created by the legislative branch.
On Tuesday night Oradell's Borough Planner Joe Burgis updated the governing body on their Affordable Housing requirements and a timeframe for when more information could be available.
"The rumor that COAH is dead is just that," Burgis said. "The Supreme Court ruled that Christie did not have the authority or right to dissolve it. Having said that, COAH has not prepared new housing need numbers for the third round rules."
The borough sold part of its first round requirements to Fairview while the upcoming Habitat for Humanity project will fulfill its second round needs. Located on the corner of Westervelt Place and Lake Avenue, Habitat received approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to create two duplexes comprised of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a one-car garage and a driveway.
"Following the completion of the Habitat project, Oradell will have met its adjusted round one and two obligations," Burgis said. "The third round numbers are still in contention from 2004 when they went to litigation."
At that time, COAH had attempted to change the rules for how they determine the number of affordable housing units to be constructed.
Established in 1985 by the N.J. Legislature as part of the Fair Housing Act, COAH was an act created in response to a series of N.J. Supreme Court decisions in the Mount Laurel cases. It was authorized to assess the statewide need for affordable housing, allocate that need on a municipal "fair share" basis, and review and approve municipal housing plans aimed at implementing the local fair share obligation.
"COAH wanted to base the numbers on a growth share methodology where larger municipalities would get a larger share, but they used an aerial map to determine what is vacant land for their projections."
Some examples include traffic islands in Parsippany, cemeteries in Mahwah and the areas in Paramus by the Garden State Parkway.
"All of this is up in the air right now," Burgis said. "One thing I can tell you is because affordable housing is considered a constitutional obligation, at somepoint there will be an obligation to be satisifed. But when that will be I can't say. It's probably a year off before we get the housing needs numbers from the state."