The New Jersey Supreme Court Issues Its Gap Period Decision
On January 18, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that municipalities do have an obligation to satisfy the unmet affordable housing obligations arising from 1999 through 2015, the so-called “gap period.” In a decision that will be hailed as a victory for affordable housing advocates and developers, and a loss for municipalities, the Court held that “the need of presently existing low- and moderate-income households formed during the gap period must be captured and included in setting affordable housing obligations for towns. . . .” This need will be captured in a redefined “present need,” which previously only included the calculation of overcrowded and deficient housing units. Thus, the affordable housing units which were lost during the period of time in which COAH failed to deliver a workable set of regulations will not be forever lost. Once again, the Court welcomed legislative or executive action. Unless and until that happens, the gap period will need to be addressed in a municipal affordable housing plan.