December 15, 2014
COAH resulted from the Fair Housing Act of 1985 in response to a series of New Jersey Supreme Court cases known as the Mount Laurel decisions. In those decisions, the Supreme Court established a constitutional obligation for each of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities to provide for affordable housing opportunities through land use and zoning powers. Towns that do not participate in COAH risk “builders remedy” lawsuits that can cause the towns to lose the ability to control when and where affordable housing will be constructed.
The current COAH plan requires Readington create 200 units of affordable housing within the township over the next 20 years, with a prescribed amount required by the 10 year mark and the rest by the 20 year mark. Previous regulations on affordable housing allowed the township to rehab units in other towns/cities and count that amount towards the township’s own requirement. The new rules do not allow for out-of-town units.
The public hearing for the acquisition of 7 acres of property in Whitehouse Station was held on November 17, 2014. This land will be used for affordable senior housing in an area where there are sidewalks and the seniors can safely enjoy walking to shops and restaurants.
The Readington Township Committee recently voted to purchase land in downtown Whitehouse Station to bring the Township into compliance with its State certified, third round COAH plan. The land will be paid for by the Township’s Housing Trust Fund, which by State law is funded by fees collected from new construction. The Council of Affordable Housing (COAH) is the State agency responsible for establishing and monitoring municipal affordable housing obligations in New Jersey.