Affordable Housing

The New Jersey Supreme Court, in its decision in March of 2015, In re N.J.A.C. 5:96 and 5:97, 221 N.J. 1 (2015) (Mount Laurel IV), transferred the evaluation of municipal compliance with the Mount Laurel doctrine from COAH to the trial courts.  On July 7, 2015, the Township filed a motion for a Declaratory Judgment (IMO Township of Toms River, County of Ocean, Docket No. OCN-L-001867-15) seeking the declaration of the Court of its compliance with the Mount Laurel doctrine and the Fair Housing Act (N.J.S.A. 53:27D-301 et seq.) in accordance the Court’s Mount Laurel IV decision. Fair Share Housing Center, Inc. (FSHC) and Dover Shopping Center Associates, LLC (Dover) were granted intervenor status in separate Orders of the Court.  
picture of house (JPG)

After the filing of the Declaratory Judgment action, the Township and FSHC participated in numerous conferences, motions, appeals, and other proceedings, and with the assistance of the Court’s Special Master, Philip Caton, PP, FAICP, ultimately reached a settlement agreement that was also accepted by the intervenor, Dover Shopping Center Associates, LLC. The Settlement Agreement, dated November 3, 2016 and signed by all parties, is attached hereto as Appendix A and sets forth the
Township’s Second and Third Round fair share obligations and a compliance plan to address the obligations.

The Settlement Agreement, and the preliminary compliance plan for the period from 1987 to 2025 that is contained in the Housing Plan, were the subject of a Fairness and Preliminary Compliance hearing before the Honorable Mark A. Troncone, J.S.C., on December 16, 2016. Based upon the testimony of the Court Master and the recommendations set forth in his report entitled Master’s Report for a Mount Laurel Fairness and Preliminary Compliance Hearing, Township of Toms River, Ocean County, New Jersey, IMO Application of the Township of Toms River, Docket No. OCN-L-1867-15, Judge Troncone issued an Order, dated December 31, 2016 (attached hereto as Appendix B in the Housing Plan). The Order approved the Settlement Agreement, the obligations established, and compliance mechanisms therein, and contained a further finding that the Township’s preliminary compliance plan is “facially constitutionally compliant and provides a fair and reasonable opportunity for Toms River to meet its obligation under Mount Laurel IV”, subject to the “Court’s approval by way of a Final Compliance Hearing.”

Thr Amended Housing Element and Fair Share Plan (link provided below) is intended to: demonstrate satisfaction of the Township’s affordable housing obligations, and the other provisions and conditions established pursuant to the November 3, 2016 Settlement Agreement and Judge Troncone’s December 31, 2016 Order; and, following a Final Compliance hearing, receive Final Judgment of Repose for the period 1987 to 2025.