New Jersey Appeals Court Upholds Win In Builder’s Remedy Lawsuit
The Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court has upheld a trial victory in a builder’s remedy lawsuit against Livingston Township. Squiretown Properties, LLC had been trying for years to get the Township’s approval to construct residential apartments on its property, offering to make some of the apartments affordable family rental units. Squiretown sued Livingston for a builder’s remedy under New Jersey’s Mount Laurel doctrine. Under that doctrine, when a municipality fails to provide its fair share of affordable housing, a builder may sue to make the town change its zoning laws to allow inclusionary development with a combination of market rate and affordable units. Following a multi-day trial, a trial court in Essex County ordered Livingston to allow the developer to build 220 apartments, of which 44 would be affordable family rental units. The Township appealed, and in a 52 page decision the Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s order.
A Mount Laurel builder’s remedy is an effective tool available to residential developers in municipalities that are recalcitrant in meeting affordable housing obligations.