The firm and the two principals, Fred Heyer, PP, AICP, CUD, LEED- AP ND, CNUa and Susan S. Gruel, PP, have extensive planning expertise in the field of affordable housing. Each principal has over 30 years of experience addressing affordable housing/COAH matters in New Jersey.
The affordable landscape in New Jersey has been in a state of flux and uncertainty since the NJ Supreme Court decision on March 10, 2015 (“Mount Laurel IV”) that returned primary jurisdiction over affordable housing matters to the trial courts. HGA is currently assisting approximately twenty municipalities with a range of affordable housing services, including evaluating fair share numbers and methodology, conducting vacant land assessments, negotiating settlement agreements, serving as expert witnesses in litigation matters, drafting Housing Elements and Fair Share Plans, and pursuing their implementation through ordinance amendments and redevelopment plans.
Prior to the 2015 Mount Laurel IV decision, the firm was involved in the preparation of numerous Second and Third Round plans. HGA prepared dozens of Second Round plans for a diverse range of communities. In a number of instances, a vacant land assessment was performed and a corresponding vacant land adjustment was a key component of the Plan. Based on the vacant land adjustment, a realistic development potential (RDP) was established and relied upon to determine the community’s fair share obligation.
The firm has also prepared a number of Third Round plans based upon the growth share methodology, which was subsequently thrown out by the Courts with the direction to utilize a methodology similar to the prior round methodology.
During both rounds, our firm participated in mediation with COAH since there were individual/entities that filed objections.
The firm has experience in representing municipalities in builders’ remedy lawsuits, judgements of repose and resolutions of compliance. The two principals have often testified in court in fairness hearings.