Photo of Hoboken City Hall, via hobokennj.com

The Hudson Reporter has a great write up on a July 28 decision by a NJ appellate court that may require four Hoboken developers to convert at least 55 market rate rental units into affordable units (“affordable” defined as units for people with low to moderate-incomes).

The crux of the issue is that Hoboken passed an ordinance in 1988 requiring developers to set aside 10% of their units as affordable. Developers have challenged the law on procedural grounds, arguing that it didn’t receive required approval by the now defunct Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). And a July 2012 decision sided with the developers arguments. However, last week on July 28, state appellate judge Jose Fuentes reversed the lower court decision, and remanded the case to determine how many apartments are to be considered affordable.

The developers are likely to appeal this latest setback. So this issue is far from over.

Our biggest takeaway is a reminder of how much local officials matter in shaping a municipalities future. The Hoboken affordable housing ordinance passed in 1988 under the administration of Tom Vezzetti. Mayor Vezzetti fought vigorously against gentrification and rising development. He was known colloquially as “the wackiest mayor in America“, and this policy, whether you are for it or against it, continues to affect Hoboken to this day.

You can read the full July 28 decision here.