An appellate court in New Jersey just ruled that towns and cities in the state do not have to meet affordable-housing requirements that accrued during a 16-year period when the state failed to adopt and enforce them, according to an article by Kate King for The Wall Street Journal.

The decision was unanimously issued by a panel of three judges with the appellate division of state Superior Court in Burlington County, according to the article. Some say this is a step in the right directions.

From the article:

Jeffrey Surenian, an attorney for the southern shore town Barnegat, which asked the court to rule that it wasn’t responsible for the retroactive obligations, said the decision protects municipalities from unrealistic affordable-housing mandates.

“There’s still going to be a lot of debate and a lot of argument about what is our obligation, but it is in everyone’s interest that we have reasonable numbers, numbers that can be achieved,” Mr. Surenian said.

Others, however, are not pleased with the ruling.

From the article:

Fair Share Housing Center, an advocacy group that promotes affordable housing, criticized the decision.

“The court today deviated from the course New Jersey has set for decades on how this [affordable-housing] need should be measured, raising the problem of continued delays for thousands of families who have waited years for homes in safe communities with access to good schools and employment opportunities,” said Kevin Walsh, the group’s executive director, in a statement.

The Fair Share Housing Center has yet to decide if it will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court, the article said.