Over 250 municipalities have now filed declaratory judgment actions (“DJ actions”) in court concerning their obligations under the Mount Laurel doctrine. The New Jersey Supreme Court established a 30-day window, between June 8 and July 8, for the filing of such actions. Notices to NJBA concerning DJ actions are still coming in, and the final tally of filed DJ actions should be available soon. The list of towns known to have filed DJ actions is linked at the Hill Wallack and NJBA websites. To visit Hill Wallack’s tracking webpage, please use this link.
NJBA is filing motions to intervene in a number of DJ actions, asking the trial courts to quickly establish fair share numbers and compliance standards, with the goals of eliminating the uncertainty and enabling the rapid development of lawful Mount Laurel compliance plans. Builders interested in seeking a rezoning of their sites may also file motions seeking to intervene in the DJ actions. As to towns that have not filed DJ actions by July 8, those towns are subject to being sued by builders and others in “constitutional compliance cases,” unless those towns already had some immunity from such suits due to court orders entered in Mount Laurel suits that preceded the 30 day window. Rezonings may be pursued in those cases as well. The procedural rules governing both types of cases are somewhat complex, and consultation with legal counsel is advised.
NJBA thanks Land Use Counsel Thomas F. Carroll, III, Esq., of Hill Wallack LLP (NJBA Master Sponsor) for this important information.