LETTER – Rible-Kean Introduce Bill Protecting Towns From Affordable Housing Lawsuits

Assemblymen Dave Rible and Sean Kean, both R-Monmouth and Ocean, recently introduced legislation that gives municipalities protection from lawsuits that could force them to build hundreds of units of affordable housing.

 

“The bill provides a defense for municipalities who are facing lawsuits brought by builders claiming they are not fulfilling their affordable housing obligation,” Rible said. “Municipalities, such as Wall Township, have spent time and money carefully planning their growth and should have the ability to decide what type of building occurs in their community.”

 

The legislation, A-4447, establishes an affirmative defense to exclusionary zoning litigation seeking a builder’s remedy. There are several defenses a municipality can provide should they be faced with a builder’s remedy lawsuit.

 

“This bill is necessary to safeguard municipalities and taxpayers from costly lawsuits,” stated Kean. “The threat of these lawsuits could force towns to build numerous units because developers view them as an opportunity to make money and will lead to sprawl and overcrowding.”

 

Under the bill, a municipality may show that at least 20 percent of existing households in the town meet the latest definition of low or moderate income; the average market rate for residences on sale in the town is $240,000 or less; or at least 7.5 percent of the municipality’s total present housing stock is price-restricted units.