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Appellate Division Declines to Extend Mount Laurel Obligations to “Quasi-Public” Utilities

Feb 22, 2023 | Written by: Tara A. St. Angelo, Esq. |

In a recent decision, JAS Group Enterprises v. PSE&G (App. Div. Feb. 1, 2023), the NJ Appellate Division held that a “quasi-public” utility company is not bound by Mount Laurel obligations and is not required to provide priority status to inclusionary housing developments when providing utility service.

The plaintiff/appellant in this case was a developer designated to develop an inclusionary development as per Lawrence Township’s Affordable Housing Plan.  PSE&G issued a “will serve” letter to the developer for electric and gas service.  However, previous correspondence from PSE&G noted that the provision of such service could be delayed up to a year due to supply chain issues.  The developer filed an action in lieu of prerogative writs requesting the Court compel PSE&G to be bound by Mount Laurel obligations and to confer priority status on inclusionary developments and provide service as of a certain date.  The Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint, finding that the obligation to “remove unnecessary cost-producing requirements and restrictions that are barriers to the construction of [affordable] housing” (as set forth in Bi-Cnty. Dev. of Clinton v. Borough of High Bridge, 174 N.J. 301, 320 (2002)) is only binding on municipalities and municipal entities.  The Appellate Division held that such obligation could not be extended to a quasi-public entity such as PSE&G.

Therefore, developers of affordable housing are not granted any priority for utility access when utilities are provided by quasi-public entities.  Utilities for inclusionary developments may be subject to the same delays as commercial and market-rate residential developments.  Municipalities may have to take this into consideration when drafting their future affordable housing plans.


Tara St. Angelo, Esq. concentrates her practice primarily in the areas of municipal and land use law.  She was named to the NJ Super Lawyers Rising Stars list for State, Local and Municipal law by Thomson Reuters in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Contact Ms. St. Angelo at Gebhardt & Kiefer, PC at 908-735-5161 or via email.

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Any statements made herein are solely for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice.