New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho: Legislature Must Act to Provide Clarity on Affordable Housing

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Leaving Important Policy Determinations to Supreme Court Will Likely Hurt Taxpayers & Communities

Senator Steven Oroho (R-24) said that it is imperative for the Legislature to provide clarity on affordable housing policy before the New Jersey Supreme Court rules on so-called “gap period” obligations for municipalities.

Sen. Steven Oroho called for the Legislature to clarify the state’s affordable housing policy, warning that New Jersey’s courts have a bad history of wasting billions of taxpayer dollars when important policy-making decisions are left in their hands. (©iStock)

“Absent clear guidance from the Legislature, the Supreme Court may rule that municipalities across New Jersey have a retroactive obligation to build hundreds of thousands on new units of affordable housing,” said Oroho. “While we believe such a ruling would conflict with prior legislative intent, the fact that this matter has reached our state’s highest court demonstrates the need for the Legislature to act quickly.”

Oroho is a co-sponsor of S-2254, which is meant to eliminate any possible misconception with respect to the Legislature’s intent to ensure that determinations of a municipality’s fair share of affordable housing will be based upon the present and prospective need for affordable housing, as clearly set forth in the “Fair Housing Act,” and that a fair share obligation will not include retrospective need that may have arisen during any “gap period” between housing cycles.

The so-called “gap period” covers from 1999 to 2015, when the state had no functioning mechanism for determining affordable housing requirements.

“New Jersey courts have a bad history of wasting tens of billions of taxpayer dollars when policy making is left in their hands,” added Oroho. “Towns are rightly concerned that if affordable housing policy is left to the courts in this instance, they will be forced to allow massive new developments that are unnecessary, expensive to property taxpayers, and disruptive to their communities. With the potential harm so clear, the Legislature needs to act and not leave affordable housing policy to the whims of an activist court.”

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