Affordable housing fights in Hoboken

Hoboken’s affordable housing ordinance (enacted in 1988) has been upheld by an appellate court, making it mandatory for developers to designate ten percent of new homes per housing development as affordable. Just as when California’s Supreme Court upheld a similar ordinance in San Jose, developers are outraged. The case came to court after the Fair Share Housing Center sued the city for not enforcing this decades-old piece of legislation. Four developers had been granted building permits, without including the mandatory affordable units. 

The developers claim the Ordinance is not legally enforceable (a stance upheld by the trial court) since it was never formally approved by the now-defunct Center on Affordable Housing, the committee in place to manage the state’s affordable housing plans. The COAH is no longer operating, after it failed several times over many years to produce a comprehensive affordable housing plan for New Jersey’s municipalities. 

It appears the court battles are not through, as at least one developer told the New Jersey Law Journal they are seeking an appeal.

When it comes down to it, though, New Jersey needs affordable housing, especially in aging working-class cities like Hoboken. As New York Ciry commuters flood the area, demanding more expensive housing and pricing out original residents, housing will become increasingly important both for low-income and wealthy residents. Without clear legilsation, the city’s class bifurcation will only increase. 

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