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Posted on: February 26, 2021

Final Compliance Hearing

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TOWNSHIP OF ROCKAWAY

 PUBLIC NOTICE OF "FINAL COMPLIANCE HEARING" TO CONSIDER THE ENTRY OF A FINAL JUDGMENT OF COMPLIANCE AND REPOSE

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a "Final Compliance Hearing" will be held on April 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm before the Honorable Michael C. Gaus, J.S.C., Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Sussex County Courthouse, 43-47 High Street, Court Room 203, Newton, New Jersey 07860.  This Hearing may take place in person or, due to the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by Governor Philip D. Murphy, Governor of the State of New Jersey on March 9, 2020 under Executive Order No. 103 (2020), as extended under subsequent Executive Orders, through virtual technology adopted for use by the Court, or through a combination of the in person and virtual technology options.  The Township of Rockaway (“Township”) will provide additional notice regarding the manner in which the Hearing will proceed on its website (www.rockawaytownship.org) on or before April 2, 2021. Anyone who desires to receive instructions regarding how to access and/or participate in the Hearing through virtual technology should provide an e-mail address or mailing address to Edward J. Buzak, Esq. and Keli L. Gallo, Esq. at the e-mail or mailing addresses at the end of this Notice on or before April 2, 2021.

 The purpose of this Hearing is for the Court to consider the entry of a Final Judgment of Compliance and Repose in favor of the Township, based on the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, and implementing ordinances and resolutions, which have been submitted to the Court.  Entry of a Final Judgment of Compliance and Repose would declare the Township to be in compliance with its obligation to provide realistic opportunities for the creation of housing affordable to very-low, low and moderate income households as required by the New Jersey Constitution and the New Jersey Fair Housing Act of 1985, as amended.  Entry of a Final Judgment of Compliance and Repose would bar through July 1, 2025 any claim that the Township is failing to provide a sufficient realistic opportunity for the creation of housing for very-low, low and moderate income households.  

 The Court previously approved a Settlement Agreement between the Township and Fair Share Housing Center (“FSHC”) after a Preliminary Compliance Hearing conducted on June 25, 2020 and September 14, 2020.  In accordance with the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Township has adopted a revised Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, has adopted various ordinances amending its zoning ordinances and ordiances and resolutions otherwise implementing the terms of the Settlement Agreement, and complied and provided additional supporting information to the Special Master.  At the Hearing, the Court will consider whether the Township has complied with its obligations under the Settlement Agreement, the Report of the Special Master dated June 12, 2020 (“Special Master Report”) and the October 5, 2020 Order Approving Settlement Agreement and Granting Preliminary Judgment of Compliance and Repose that was entered by the Honorable Michael C. Gaus, J.S.C., including whether the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, and implementing ordinances and resolutions, demonstrate compliance with the Township’s obligation to provide a realistic opportunity to satisfy the Township’s Rehabilitation share (present need), Prior Round and Third Round “fair share” of the regional need for housing affordable to very-low, low and moderate income persons pursuant to the Mount Laurel decisions and their progeny, the Fair Housing Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-301, et seq., the substantive, applicable regulations of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing ("COAH"), the New Jersey Supreme Court's March 10, 2015 decision in the matter of In re: N.J.A.C. 5:96 & 5:97, 221 N.J. 1 (2015) and other applicable laws and judicial decisions.  The Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, and implementing ordinances and resolutions, are available on the Township’s website abovementioned for review by any interested person.  A hard copy of the same will be sent to anyone who makes such a request in writing to the Township Clerk at the address listed at the end of this Notice on or before April 2, 2021 and provides an electronic or mailing address to which the requested documents should be sent.

 Any interested party, including, without limitation, any very-low, low or moderate income person residing in the housing region, any organization representing the interests of very-low, low and moderate income persons, any owner of property in the Township, or any organization representing the interests of owners of property in the Township, may seek to appear and be heard regarding the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan, and implementing ordinances and resolutions, at the Final Compliance Hearing. Any person wishing to be heard shall advise of that intention in writing on or before April 2, 2021.  If the Hearing proceeds via virtual technology, interested parties will be provided instructions on how to participate in the Hearing. Regardless of whether the Hearing proceeds in person or through virtual technology, failure to provide written notice of the desire to be heard may preclude oral argument or presentation.  Written notice of the desire to be heard must be filed in writing with the Honorable Michael C. Gaus, J.S.C, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Sussex County Courthouse, 43-47 High Street, Court Room 203, Newton, New Jersey 07860, with copies of all papers being forwarded by mail or e-mail to:

 

The Honorable Eugene Serpentelli, J.S.C., Retired (Court Appointed Master)

Benchmark Resolutions, LLC

411 Princeton Avenue

Brick, NJ 08724

eds@benchmarkresolutions.com

  

Edward J. Buzak, Esq.

The Buzak Law Group, LLC

150 River Road

Suite N4

Montville, NJ 07045

Phone: (973)335-0600 

Telecopier: (973)335-1145

Email: EJBUZAK@BUZAKLAWGROUP.COM

  

Christina Clipperton, Township Clerk

Township of Rockaway

Municipal Building

65 Mount Hope Road

Rockaway, New Jersey 07866

cclipperton@rockawaytownship.org

 

Adam M. Gordon, Esq.

Joshua D. Bauers, Esq.

Fair Share Housing Center

510 Park Boulevard

Cherry Hill, NJ  08002

Phone:  (856) 665-5444

Telecopier:  (856) 663-8182

E-mail: adamgordon@fairsharehousing.org

E-mail: joshbauers@fairsharehousing.org

 

Steven Firkser, Esq.

Greenbaum Rowe

99 Wood Avenue South

Iselin, New Jersey 08830

SFirkser@greenbaumlaw.com

 

Christopher Minks, Esq.

Russo Development

570 Commerce Boulevard

Carlstadt, New Jersey 07072

cminks@russodevelopment.com


This Notice is provided pursuant to the directive of the Court and is intended to inform all interested parties of the proposed entry of a Final Judgment of Compliance and Repose and the possible consequences of the entry of such a Judgment. This Notice does not indicate any view by the Court as to whether the Township is in compliance with its obligations under the Settlement Agreement between the Township and Fair Share Housing Center, the Report of the Special Master dated June 12, 2020 and the October 5, 2020 Order Approving Settlement Agreement and Granting Preliminary Judgment of Compliance and Repose or whether the Court will enter a Final Judgment of Compliance and Repose.

  

Dated: February 26, 2021                               /s/ Christina Clipperton                                               

                                                                        Christina Clipperton, Township Clerk


Click here for copy of the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan.

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