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Fair Share Housing Center Takes Emergent Action to Stop Housing Trust Fund Seizure [UPDATED]

Posted by Kevin Walsh on July 10th 2012

On Monday July 2, 2012, Fair Share Housing Center (FSHC) filed an application to file an Emergent Motion in the Appellate Court to stop the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) from taking any municipal housing trust funds until it has promulgated regulations to determine what “committed” means under N.J.S.A. 52:27-329.2 and 329.3, which authorizes COAH to take certain municipal affordable housing trust funds that have not been “committed” within four years of collection.

COAH has refused to provide any determination either through regulation or in individual cases of what “committed” means and on Friday, June 29, 2012, Governor Christie line item vetoed legislative budget language providing a safe harbor definition of “committed” and allowed for the provision of up to $200 million in municipal trust funds that have not been “committed” to be transferred from municipal accounts to the state’s General Fund beginning on July 17, 2012.

FSHC’s Emergent Application seeks an immediate preliminary injunction against COAH taking any money from any municipal housing trust fund prior to the appeal being heard and upon briefing and argument, a permanent injunction against COAH taking any money from the trust funds until COAH promulgated regulations as required by law and giving all affected parties an opportunity to comply.

Immediately after filing the Emergent Application, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities filed a letter in support of the Application and requested permission to file as an amicus. The Emergent Application and the League’s request to file as an amicus were both granted on the afternoon of July 2. With the impending deadlines, a short briefing schedule was issued. FSHC’s brief and the League’s briefwere due and submitted on July 6. COAH’s brief is due today. Oral argument will be held before the Appellate Division this Friday, July 13 at 10:00 a.m. in the Veterans Courthouse, Room 1114, 11th Floor, 50 W. Market Street, Newark, NJ 07103.

FSHC’s brief is available here. The League’s brief is available here.

We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.

[UPDATE on July 11, 2012: Media representatives interested in covering the argument are advised to visit the judiciary’s website for information.]

[UPDATE on July 11, 2012 at 5 p.m.: [COAH’s brief is available here.]