A municipality can be protected from lawsuits brought by builders by obtaining a compliance decision or rest, which typically provides for a ten-year period during which the municipality would be protected from future construction litigation as long as Millburn complies with the court-approved HEFSP and/or settlement agreement. Southern Burlington County NAACP v Mt. Laurel Twp., 92 N.J. 158, 291-92 (1983). Given that the housing obligations were developed for a separate period (the most recent 1999-2015), the courts consider that there is a uniform ten-year period during which compliance/rest is legally binding (valid until 1 July 2025, regardless of when this judgment is obtained). The New Jersey Supreme Court was aware that Mount Laurel II`s decision would be controversial and spark debate about the proper role of the courts. The opinion called for legislative measures to implement what the Court defined as a constitutional obligation. On July 8, lawyers for the Township of Robbinsville filed a declaratory complaint with the court to isolate the community from prosecution. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and its related affordable housing regulations require New Jersey municipalities to provide affordable housing. However, a recent Supreme Court decision could be problematic for Robbinsville, as the city is almost entirely built and Robbinsville residents already have a high tax burden. The appeals department also rejected the municipality`s “catalyst” argument, noting that the municipality did not agree before or during the litigation, but passed a revised zoning ordinance in protest. As the Court of Appeal explained below, “a developer may be entitled to a remedy from the builder even if a municipality began to comply before or during the developer`s lawsuit, provided that the lawsuit demonstrates that the municipality is not currently meeting its affordable housing obligations.” Yes.
All communities in New Jersey are required to plan, zone, and provide a “realistic opportunity” for the development of affordable housing through their land use ordinances. If these requirements, which are set out in Southern Burlington County NAACP v Mt. Laurel Twp. (Mount Laurel), are not met, the municipality may be subject to corrective action for builders. Once a court finds that a municipality has failed to meet its constitutional obligations to develop affordable housing, it is almost impossible to “win” a subsequent lawsuit from the builder. The municipality loses the presumption of validity of its development orders and the case is based on the underlying premise that the municipality is unreasonably preventing the construction of affordable housing. From a municipal perspective, the benefits of COAH`s administrative procedure included the use of a fair share formula, which could lead to a lower obligation than that imposed by the court, to determine the availability of the regional contribution agreement to reduce the number of units and the possibility of developing affordable housing in the municipality. instead of being forced to develop a development as a reward for a successful builder-applicant. Municipalities that chose not to participate in COAH`s administrative process remained vulnerable to zoning exclusion lawsuits and the prospect of recourse by the developer. The disadvantage would be that a participating municipality could be required to zone certain parcels of land in order to produce additional housing. Some municipalities that felt that the likelihood of facing a prosecution in an exclusion zone was sufficiently low took advantage of their chances of not participating. Contrary to this massive development plan, there was the historic black community of Mount Laurel, which had lived in the township since the Revolutionary War, many attributing their ancestry to southern slaves who escaped and came north via the Underground Railroad with Mount Laurel as the railway`s stop and destination.
These Black families worked on farms and had modest means, incomes far below what would be needed to purchase one of the new single-family homes planned for mount Laurel`s three PUDs. The current commitment expires in 2025. At this point, the community needs to go through another process to determine what their new commitment to affordable housing is. Originally, the COAH was supposed to publish the rules of the third round in 1999, but due to political pressure from the municipalities, this did not succeed for several years, which led to a dispute to force the COAH to publish the rules. In 2002, the New Jersey Builders Association and the Coalition on Affordable Housing and the Environment joined forces to file a lawsuit against COAH`s expansion of the community`s existing affordable housing plans – at a time of strong national and statewide economic growth that should have provided significant opportunities for new low- and middle-income housing. In 2004, the Appeals Division asked COAH to adopt the rules for the third round, calling the delay “dramatic and inexplicable”. At the same time, the Fair Share Housing Center took a case to the New Jersey Supreme Court to force coah to adopt new rules, which led the court to give COAH a window to pass regulations, but said it would look into any further INACTION by COAH if the deadline was missed. Wayne gained immunity to the manufacturer`s remedies in the same way as many other cities in 2015. The State Supreme Court ruled that the State Council for Affordable Housing had not fulfilled its duty and therefore no longer existed.
Finally, the Court of Appeal rejected the municipality`s assertion that the Court of First Instance must either authorize the 419 units initially requested as an appeal for the builder or reject the builder`s aid altogether. “A trial court has the power to shape the builder`s remedy by reducing the number of licensed units, based on appropriate planning considerations, whether proposed by a planning committee or a special master appointed by the court,” the court concluded. Cranford Development Associates (CDA) filed a lawsuit against the Township of Cranford, claiming that the municipality had not provided its fair share of low- to middle-income housing and that its current zoning prohibited the construction of affordable housing. CDA sought the help of a builder to rehabilitate its approximately sixteen-acre commercial property with two buildings that would offer 419 apartments, fifteen per cent of which would be designated as affordable housing. The Community of the Township of Chatham has raised several objections to new affordable housing, consistent with historical and regional objections to the Mount Laurel Doctrine. Many citizens raised concerns about the impact fees charged to residents to fund new affordable housing. A resident of the Township of Chatham who spoke at the Township Committee meeting on September 12, 2019 proposed these “penalty fees.” Power. and simply not be implemented.”  This proposal reflects the open refusal to comply with Mount Laurel Doctrine I, which requires the community to provide housing for people with multiple income brackets, which was common between 1975 and 1981. The mount laurel doctrine requires municipalities to add fair housing through municipal zoning.
 In addition to monetary costs, local residents expressed concerns about the loss of open space and trees. This development requires the removal of 18 trees on the skatepark property and is expected to exceed the permitted community construction height of 2.98 feet.  The open space dispute is a conflict that takes place in many communities, such as the “builder`s lawsuit cases.” A group of teenagers said they were concerned about the loss of the community`s skatepark, for which there are currently no plans to rebuild.  Since it is a suburb, one resident said, “I am not opposed to affordable housing per se,” but is “opposed to population growth” because the city is characterized by low-density housing.  Another resident noted that the development site is in a high-traffic area near the elementary school and that new residents will result in reduced parking and pedestrian safety.  Concerns about the evolution of suburban form often arise in an “outcry from lawmakers” related to fears that New Jersey`s suburban communities look like cities. In the meantime, the municipality is already facing a developer`s appeal and is exposed to others. Millburn filed a declaratory action before Judge Gardner of the Essex County Superior Court in the hope that the court would give him a judgment on compliance/rest if all parties involved in the mediation had agreed to a settlement. .