Today, the Appellate Division issued a decision invalidating the Council of Affordable Housing’s growth share methodology, commonly referred to as the third round rules. The Court provided the following conclusion:
In summary, we invalidate the parts of the revised third round rules that use a growth share methodology for determining the prospective need for affordable housing. We also conclude 71 A-5382-07T3 that the adoption of valid third round rules should not be further delayed by allowing COAH to adopt another methodology for determining prospective need that relies upon a growth share approach. Accordingly, we remand to 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.
We also invalidate N.J.A.C. 5:97-3.2(a)(4)(iv), which authorizes a municipality to obtain substantive certification of a compliance plan that proposes to construct municipally-funded affordable housing without any specifics regarding the location of the site or source of funding; those parts of the third round rules that fail to provide sufficient incentives for the construction of inclusionary developments; N.J.A.C. 5:97-3.5, which governs rental bonuses for prior round obligations; and N.J.A.C. 5:97-3.18, which authorizes compliance bonuses for affordable housing units approved during the period from December 20, 2004 to June 2, 2008. Consequently, COAH must either eliminate or modify those parts of the third round rules in conformity with this opinion.