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New Draft COAH Rules Ignore Potential of Redevelopment

July 25th, 2014 by

The G.G. Green Opera House in Woodbury, a 2014 Smart Growth Award winner, which is being repurposed into affordable housing.

The former G.G. Green Opera House in Woodbury, a 2014 Smart Growth Award winner, is being repurposed into affordable housing.

Following a review of the newest draft affordable-housing rules, New Jersey Future has joined the New Jersey chapter of the American Planning Association and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey in submitting an amici curiae brief to the state Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit challenging those rules.

While the lawsuit, brought by the Fair Share Housing Center, objects to the draft rules on several grounds, the brief New Jersey Future has joined focuses specifically on a new methodology used to calculate a municipality’s affordable-housing obligation. This methodology, referred to in the brief as the Buildable Limit methodology, reduces a municipality’s affordable-housing obligation if it has been determined that there isn’t sufficient new land available on which the required new housing units reasonably may be built.

This methodology discounts completely the possibility of creating new housing units through redevelopment of already-built land and buildings. The brief points out that prior affordable-housing rules took full account of the potential that redevelopment offers in satisfying affordable-housing obligations, and notes, citing New Jersey Future analysis and research, that market forces are increasingly making redevelopment the primary avenue via which New Jersey will continue to grow. Not to include this route to housing growth, the brief concludes, ignores reality and undermines sound planning, including going against the stated goals of the state Development and Redevelopment Plan.

We are grateful to Catherine Weiss Esq., chairwoman of the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest, and Ryan J. Cooper Esq., for their work in preparing the brief, and we look forward to seeing revised draft rules that encourage the appropriate development of affordable housing throughout New Jersey.

Read the full brief.

4 Responses to “New Draft COAH Rules Ignore Potential of Redevelopment”

  1. Pat Hanley says:

    I support NJ Future 100% on mandating the redevelopment option to satisfy COAH obligations.

    Living in lower Bergen County where our only open space is the meadowlands, these redevelopment options will help keep this precious open space intact. It will also revitalize our community that has many deteriorating 100+ year old structures – many lying vacant for years.

  2. Valerie Haynes says:

    The “full brief” link is for the motion papers submitted by Fair Share Housing. Is it possible to put up a link for the amicus brief(s)?

    In Princeton, two redevelopment projects approved in the last two years will yield 112 affordable units in compliance with the local ordinance requiring a 20% set aside. Sixteen of these units are already being occupied. The last affordable development built on vacant land came on line in 2007, and there are no proposed new developments on vacant land. Redevelopment is essential to address the need for affordable homes.

  3. SFB says:

    I’m very glad that NJ Future is making a significant intervention in this case. The buildable limit methodology is seriously flawed. Redevelopment should be the rule, not the exception.

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