Since the 1980s, the Township of Randolph has been an active participant in the creation of affordable housing in the community. In excess of 300 affordable units have been developed in the form of apartments, townhomes, single-family dwellings, assisted-living units and group homes. The township consistently met the affordable housing requirements of the agency responsible for overseeing the state’s affordable housing rules, the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).
In 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the administrative process for reviewing municipal compliance with the state’s affordable housing requirements had become non-functioning and transferred jurisdiction over such matters from COAH to the New Jersey Superior Court. The ruling also established a judicial forum as a substitute for COAH’s process for certifying a municipality’s affordable housing obligation.
In accordance with the Supreme Court ruling, New Jersey municipalities were provided the opportunity to seek approval of their plans for development of affordable housing through a court filing termed a declaratory judgment action. Randolph filed its declaratory judgment action, along with the accompanying housing plan approved by the planning board in March 2016, as required by the court.
The responsibility for reviewing the declaratory judgment actions filed by the municipalities was assigned to one of the 15 judges appointed by the Supreme Court to review the matter.
At the center of the litigation is the methodology under which the court will use to determine the municipal affordable housing obligations for the period 1999-2025. The municipalities have proposed a methodology, which is believed fair and appropriate, and yields an obligation that would require less development. The Fair Share Housing Center, the Builder’s Association and interested developers are proffering a methodology that would require much more intensive and extensive development.
Randolph has met all of its obligations in the legal process and continues to work for the best possible outcome for the community.
Litigation is always difficult to predict as far as timing, but it is believed the matter will be moving towards closure this year. At the September 24, 2020 council meeting, resolutions authorizing settlements with LYS Realty/Toll Brothers and Canoe Brook Development LLC were adopted. A fairness hearing will be held on December 17, 2020 at which time the court will evaluate if the settlements are fair and reasonable to the region’s low and moderate income households. The documents below are being provided to assist the public in understanding this ongoing process. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.