New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho & Space: Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Housing Will Cost Property Taxpayers

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Senator Steven Oroho and Assemblyman Parker Space (both R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said that today’s ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court addressing how municipalities must account for so-called “gap period” affordable housing requirements is further legislating from the bench that will cost property taxpayers dearly if towns are mandated to comply.

Sen. Steven Oroho and Asm. Parker Space said the N.J. Supreme Court’s affordable housing ruling is legislating from the bench that will cost property taxpayers. (©iStock)

“Towns will be forced to conduct expensive new studies and analyses as a result of today’s ruling, and likely will end up in litigation once again,” said Oroho. “Property taxpayers will continue to pay the price for an activist Court’s repeated attempts to effectuate a flawed social policy.”

The Supreme Court changed the definition of “present need,” calling for the inclusion of a new “analytic component” that addresses the need of presently existing low- and moderate-income households created during the gap period, from 1999 to 2015.

The court essentially overturned a July 2016 Appellate Court ruling which stated that the imposition of a new methodology for the “gap period” is best resolved by the legislative and executive branches of government, where such policies can be developed and debated in a public manner. There is currently no state law mandating a retrospective affordable housing obligation.

“Mandating retroactive low-income housing obligations will have long-term, dire consequences for our towns and taxpayers,” Space said. “This court-ordered overdevelopment will change the landscape of many communities. It will decimate open space while forcing taxpayers to pay for additional services to handle the increase in population. Property taxes will skyrocket. This ‘affordable’ housing mandate will make New Jersey even more unaffordable.”

Oroho and Space are co-sponsors of bi-partisan legislation, S-2254/A-3821, to clarify the Legislature’s intent that determinations of a municipality’s fair share of affordable housing will be based upon the present and prospective need for affordable housing, and that a fair share obligation will not include retrospective need that may have arisen during any “gap period” between housing cycles.

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