TRENTON, NJ - State Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) said this week's court decision not to mandate retroactive affordable housing obligations is a victory for taxpayers and municipalities statewide.
“Today the Superior Court answered our call to protect taxpayers from a catastrophic Ocean County court decision that would have caused a ripple effect, decimating municipalities statewide,” Bateman said.
“I have long fought for affordable housing reforms that would place the responsibility of determining obligations in the hands of the legislature, where we can develop real solutions that best serve the individual needs of our communities. Now the courts agree," he added. "This ruling brings us one step closer to passing affordable housing reforms that will preserve open space, access to high quality education and emergency services; and the integrity of unique communities statewide.”
The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division ruled that municipalities are not required to meet retroactive affordable housing agreements from the “gap period” of 1999-2015. In May, prior to the court hearing, Bateman introduced legislation clarifying that forcing municipalities to meet retroactive affordable housing requirements violates established law.
The court’s decision reverses a ruling cast down by an Ocean County court judge that would have set adangerous precedent, potentially forcing municipalities statewide to build more than 100,000 new housing units in just nine years.
The ruling specifically states that affordable housing obligations should be decided by the Legislative and Executive branches, not by the judiciary. The ruling also states that the legislature may craft legislation addressing the gap period, paving the way for swift passage of Bateman’s legislative efforts to accomplish this goal.
Bateman is also the sponsor of comprehensive affordable housing reforms to allow municipalities to administer their own affordable housing obligations, returning flexibility and autonomy to all communities. The senator added that doing so will protect the environment and open space, ease the property tax burden and prevent costly construction in towns that are already battling overcrowding.