Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a three-judge appeals panel upheld a lower New Jersey court ruling requiring the town of Eastampton to grant a zoning request to nonprofit Homes of Hope for an exception to build two multifamily duplexes in a neighborhood zoned for single-family homes. Eastampton had argued that because they already had 21 more affordable-housing units than required by New Jersey law, they were not required to grant the zoning variance. But the appeals court agreed with an earlier ruling by Superior Court Judge John Sweeney that the state's affordable housing regulations did not intend for each town only to meet the needs of the homeless within its own boundaries, but rather to contribute to the needs of the entire state. Accordingly, building the affordable housing was an "inherently beneficial use" under New Jersey law, and local authorities could not deny the zoning exception.