Governor Christie’s Plan to Abolish the Council on Affordable Housing Overturned By Appellate Court
An appellate court Thursday March 8, 2012 overturned Governor Christie’s executive order of June to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) and fold its functions into the state Department of Community Affairs. That plan would have given municipalities and the governor more control over determining the number of affordable-housing units required for development projects. The Governor argued that it would save money, reduce regulations, and simplify the administration of affordable housing. The Fair Share Housing Center sued, alleging the governor did not have the power to eliminate an independent agency under the under the Reorganization Act. The organization argued that with COAH under the control of DCA - which is led by a commissioner appointed by the governor - transparency would be eliminated and public hearings would be replaced by behind-closed-doors decisions where the Commissioner could unilaterally waive affordable-housing obligations. The court ruled that Governor Christie did exceed his authority under the Reorganization Act when he abolished COAH and that only the Legislature do that. The ruling held that the Governor could not abolish any agency that was created by the Legislature and is an independent authority, even if it technically sits within the executive branch.
Governor Christie’s administration has confirmed that he remains committed to aboloshing COAH and the Governor has appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. One thing is certain. The legal battle over COAH’s fate guarantees continued uncertainty around the affordable-housing obligations of developers.
The Law Office of Christopher D. Hopkins, LLC. has substantial experience in calculating and negotiating the affordable housing obligations of various development projects. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your issues.
About The Law Office of Christopher D. Hopkins, LLC
The Law Office of Christopher D. Hopkins, LLC is a boutique law firm located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey committed to providing the highest quality of legal services in the select areas of real estate, land use and environmental law. The firm is committed to working collaboratively with clients to achieve practical, cost effective results- whether it be in complex litigation, transactions, cleanups and/or development projects. The firm provides transactional and litigation counsel to a broad spectrum of clients including private and public corporations, trade associations, nonprofit institutions, banks, real estate investment trusts and individuals in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
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