Commissioner Doria Responds To Calls For COAH Deadline Extension

TRENTON – Commissioner Doria sent the following letter today to William Dressel, Executive Director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities:

Dear Mr. Dressel:

I am writing regarding your request that the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) hold an emergency meeting to extend the December 31st deadline for submitting revised third round plans.  As you know, the December 31st deadline, which is set forth in regulations adopted by COAH earlier this year, applies only to a portion of the municipalities in the State.  The deadline applies only to those towns that previously participated in COAH’s original third round or that voluntarily chose to file plans before the court and thereby continue to maintain protection against “builder’s remedy” lawsuits.  Published reports indicate that over 200 of the towns to which the deadline applies have recently taken action to approve revised plans, or are poised to do so over the next couple of days.

We recognize the time and effort that is required for the planning process, and COAH has worked with many towns to provide information and assistance in that process.  COAH also has issued guidance that addresses some of the significant concerns that have been raised about the growth share impact of new residential construction.

As to the deadline, COAH’s regulations provide the opportunity for individual municipalities to apply to COAH for a waiver of a particular regulatory requirement provided that criteria set forth in the waiver regulation are satisfied.  This waiver option has been available to any town that believes it cannot meet the deadline and whose request meets the criteria.

We have given serious thought and consideration to your request but have determined that an across-the-board extension of the deadline would not be consistent with COAH’s statutory obligations under the Fair Housing Act.

As we have stated, COAH is committed to continuing to work cooperatively with municipal officials in the planning process, and that cooperation certainly will continue as we move forward.

Sincerely,

Joseph V. Doria, Jr.
Commissioner