In the Matter of Affordable Housing

On June 15, 2011, the ACLU-NJ filed an Amicus Brief in support of an Appellate Division decision upholding a challenge to the new Department of Community Affairs/Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations. The ACLU-NJ brief explains that the interpretation of the “general welfare” clause of the New Jersey Constitution imposes upon municipalities an affirmative obligation to provide reasonable opportunities for affordable housing to meet its fair share of the region’s needs, has a longstanding place in our constitutional jurisprudence, and should be upheld. The brief also explains that, given the long history of failure of municipal efforts to provide affordable housing, the courts have broad discretion to fashion an appropriate remedy; thus the Appellate Division did not abuse its discretion in rejecting further attempts to implement a voluntary “growth share” mechanism after over 10 years delay in complying with the mandate. In September of 2013, the supreme court of New Jersey upheld the ruling of the Appellate Court and determined that the voluntary growth share mechanism was at odds with the Fair Housing Act.

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