We are waiting for the New Jersey Assembly to act on the Senate Bill which will abolish the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).  Perhaps one of the only silver linings that comes out of this recession and the slow down of residential development, is the fact that hardly anyone notices that no one knows what to do with affordable housing.  Property owners, developers, towns and state employees alike, cannot be certain as to what the affordable housing requirements will be for any residential development in the State.  Unfortunately, if this does not get resolved soon, it will be another factor in the slow economic recovery that we are going through here in New Jersey.

 The Senate Bill, S-1, abolishes COAH and seeks to move the affordable housing obligations to the local level, town by town.  Who knows if this will work?

 A popular misconception is that the abolition of COAH serves to abolish the obligation to provide affordable housing in New Jersey.  This obligation does not go away easily.  It is a constitutional mandate as determined through a long history of New Jersey Supreme Court decisions.

 If the current economic climate continues to deteriorate, then we will never be able to create affordable housing, because no one will be able to buy or rent at any price!  You should expect the Senate to pass a bill similar to the one that passed the Assembly.  As long as the housing industry is starting over, it may as well have new rules for affordable housing.

Stuart D. Liebman, Esq.

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