Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

New Jersey Low and Moderate Income Housing Prospective Need for 1999-2024 Using the NJ COAH Prior Round (1987-1999) Methodology

Under New Jersey’s Mount Laurel Doctrine on exclusionary zoning and affordable housing,  and the state Fair Housing Act enacted in 1985,  all New Jersey municipalities and State agencies with land use authority have a constitutional obligation to create a realistic opportunity for development of their fair share of the regional need for housing affordable to low and moderate income households. This housing need, and associated fair share obligations, has three components: Rehabilitation Need, Prior Round obligation (1987-1999) and Prospective Need (post-1999). This document presents the methodology for calculating and allocating regional prospective housing need for 1999-2024 to New Jersey’s 565 municipalities, and then calculating the Net Prospective component of each municipality’s fair share housing obligation. It also provides the results of these calculations for all municipalities, calculating their Net Prospective Need for 1999-2024 using the Prior Round (1987-1999) methodology.

This prospective need methodology responds directly to the 2010 remedy order by the Appellate Division, affirmed by the New Jersey Supreme Court on September 26, 2013, that directed the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”) “… to adopt new third round rules that use a methodology for determining prospective need similar to the methodologies used in the first and second rounds. This determination should be made on the basis of the most up-to-date available data. The remand shall be completed within five months.”

“Prospective Need” is a projection of low and moderate income housing needs for a defined period in the future. COAH first developed, proposed, revised, adopted, and implemented its fair share housing methodology to project prospective need for the First Round (1987-1993) in 1986.  For its Second Round (1993-1999), COAH maintained the basic structure of the methodology, and adopted and implemented the updated methodology, with some minor refinements, in 1994. 

Under its First and Second Round methodologies, also referred to, since the early 2000s as the “Prior Round,” COAH determined municipal prospective need in three phases. First, regional prospective need is calculated. Second, each region’s prospective need is allocated to the municipalities within each region. Third, each municipality’s obligation is adjusted based on additional, so-called “secondary” sources of housing demand and supply. The entire process has 19 discrete but inter-related steps. This document defines each of these steps and the “most up-to-date available data” used for each step in this process, as required by the Appellate Division. This Third Round prospective need methodology follows closely and almost mechanically the COAH First and Second Round methodologies. No refinements, simplifications, or revisions have been made, in keeping with the Appellate Division’s Order. No policy judgments have been made, except for the weighting of undeveloped land in the Highlands Region for calculating the land allocation factor (see Step 12), as the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act was enacted in 2004, a decade after COAH adopted its Second Round methodology. 

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