Despite high court order, NJ panel fails to adopt affordable housing rules

 The New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing deadlocked Monday on new rules covering municipal obligations to provide housing options for the poor.(<a href=Photo via ShutterStock) " title="shutterstock_104062235" width="640" height="360"/>

The New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing deadlocked Monday on new rules covering municipal obligations to provide housing options for the poor.(Photo via ShutterStock)

In a surprising turn, the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing has failed to adopt new rules on how many homes each town should have for lower-income residents.

The council deadlocked in a 3-to-3 vote on the proposed rules Monday because some members said they wanted changes after complaints about the plan.

The deadlock makes it unlikely COAH will meet a mid-November deadline for new rules imposed by the state Supreme Court.

The regulations that had been proposed were flawed, said Adam Gordon, a staff attorney for the Fair Share Housing Center.

“Thousands of parcels of land that were in Monmouth County actually the rules located them in Ocean County incorrectly, which meant that a lot of towns had very low obligations because they weren’t taking into account land that they had mischaracterized,” he said.

Affordable housing advocates also said the plan did not provide enough housing for people with special needs and disabilities.

And The New Jersey Sierra Club claims the proposal would have targeted open space and environmentally sensitive land for development.

Ever since the state’s high court ruled in 1975 that municipalities could not shut out the poor through zoning regulations, the means of insuring affordable housing has been contested in the courts and revised in the Legislature.

The latest set of rules expired more than a year ago.

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