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RI Lawyers Weekly: “Supreme Court rejects affordable housing fee”

The RI Supreme Court rules in favor of MAK client and developer Ron Chofay (North End Realty) in a decision that impacts affordable housing development in RI and invalidates a $200,000 “fee-in-lieu” imposed on Chofay.

 

RI Lawyers Weekly

July 18, 2011

By Thomas E. Egan

 

“East Greenwich could not require a developer to pay $200,000 in lieu of designating 15 percent of the units in a proposal subdivision as affordable housing, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled.

 

The developer argued that the town did not have the requisite authority to impose a $200,000 “fee-in-lieu.”

 

The Supreme Court agreed.

 

‘[I]t is our view that, before a municipality may impose a fee-in-lieu on developers, it must have specific statutory authorization from the General Assembly — as in the case with respect to development impact fees and open space fees,’ Justice William P. Robinson III wrote for the unanimous court.

 

‘The development of affordable housing is a critical statewide need, and specific enabling legislation must be enacted by the General Assembly before municipalities in this state may impose such fees-in-lieu’ he said.

 

The 22-page decision is North End Reality, LLC v. Mattos, et al, Lawyers Weekly No. 60-109-11.  The full text of the ruling can be found at www.rilawyersweekly.com.”