New Jersey Supreme Court puts control of affordable housing agency in the courts

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Affordable-housing advocates alleged that the state government had failed to meet a court-ordered deadline

March 16, 2015

The New Jersey Supreme Court said the state’s affordable housing agency had failed to do its job, and effectively transferred the agency's regulatory authority to lower courts. The court’s unanimous decision came in response to a lawsuit by affordable-housing advocates alleging that Gov. Chris Christie’s administration had failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to issue regulations that require towns to provide for the realistic construction of affordable housing.

The court said the administrative process by which municipalities submit housing plans to the state Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) "has been rendered futile." Therefore, courts must step in, the justices said. The ruling may prompt extensive litigation against local communities alleged to have failed to provide their fair share of affordable housing.

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