The state’s high court ruled that a New Jersey developer has the right to build 227 housing units on Randolph Street in Canton, seven years after the town first nixed the proposal.

The state’s high court ruled that a New Jersey developer has the right to build 227 housing units on Randolph Street in Canton, seven years after the town first nixed the proposal.


The Supreme Judicial court on Thursday upheld a state housing committee’s approval of Roseland Property Company’s application to build 196 apartments and 28 homes on Randolph Street under Chapter 40B, the state’s affordable housing law.


The law allows developers to override local zoning and build affordable housing in communities where less than 10 percent of the housing stock meets the state’s definition of affordable.


The Canton zoning board of appeals denied Roseland’s application in 2003. At the time, the town’s percentage of affordable housing was 7.9 percent.


The developer appealed the denial to the state Housing Appeals Committee. In the meantime, Canton reached an agreement with another developer, Pequit Development Partners, that sought to build 159 apartments and 80 condos under Chapter 40B. That would put the town over the 10-percent threshold, and town officials argued that gave them the right to deny the Roseland project.


The Housing Appeals Committee rejected the town’s argument, approving the Roseland project because the town had not hit the 10-percent threshold when Roseland appealed.


The town challenged the ruling in court, arguing that the appeals committee’s decision was unreasonable and that the developer underestimated its effects on traffic.


But the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the town didn’t prove that the development would create significant public safety concerns.


Patriot Ledger writer Steve Adams may be reached at sadams@ledger.com.