Back in the 1970s, the New Jersey Supreme Court upended longstanding traditions of home rule and strict zoning and planning throughout the state when, in what is called the Mount Laurel decision, it found that municipalities had an obligation under the state constitution to provide for affordable housing. The ruling has remained controversial ever since, and it remains largely unimplemented. Here's on the latest wrinkle:

A ruling that trashes a study that hundreds of New Jersey towns are using to determine how many affordable units they must legally provide will likely resonate in courtrooms across the state, housing experts say.

More than 280 municipalities are relying on the recommendations of Econsult Solutions to determine their affordable housing obligations but a Superior Court Judge in Middlesex County last month rejected those findings as "inconsistent with common sense" at times.

In siding with housing advocates to determine how many low- and moderate-income units South Brunswick has to provide, Judge Douglas Wolfson said Econsult relied on methods that were designed to reduce the township's obligation.

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