NJ Supreme Court Preserves COAH
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. July 10, 2013
New Jersey’s Supreme Court has ruled that Governor Chris Christie exceeded his authority when he decided to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing.
Adam Gordon is an attorney with the Fair Share Housing Center, which filed the lawsuit challenging Christie’s decision to transfer the Council’s functions to the state Department of Community Affairs.
He says the ruling is a victory for transparency and public involvement in decisions on providing affordable housing.
“I think it will be interesting to see what happens in the future. What’s most important is that we have an independent, non-political way to make sure that homes get built for people in New Jersey who need them, people with special needs, lower income seniors, and working families.”
Staci Berger is the executive director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. She’s pleased COAH is being preserved .
“We think that opportunities for communities to provide affordable homes for folks who need them in a variety of communities around the state absolutely are going to be better off and better served by an independent diverse group of stakeholders under the Council on Affordable Housing that it would have been under the governor’s plan.”
Berger is not sure if the legislature will make another attempt to change COAH.
“The legislature gave the governor an opportunity to do away with the particular agency but not to do away with communities’ responsibility to build homes that people can afford. Until the governor comes up with some ideas that require communities to do their fair share and not do nothing, we’re going to be at a stalemate with policy chances that would eliminate the agency.”
Governor Christie describes the ruling written by the Chief Justice as an activist and arrogant opinion of a liberal court perpetuating a failed social experiment in housing.