In 2010, N.J. Governor Chris Christie introduced legislation to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing, the enforcement body for New Jersey’s fair share affordable housing rules, which grew out of the famed 1975 Mt. Laurel lawsuit (see SF Summer 2010). That bill has now stalled in the state Legislature’s lower house. But Christie has found another way move his agenda, dissolving COAH through an administrative move into the state’s Department of Community Affairs, whose commissioner is appointed by the governor. COAH was previously an independent entity. Housing advocates say the move is illegal and have vowed to fight it.
“The only thing worse than a dysfunctional COAH is Chris Christie running the show,” Kevin Walsh, associate director of the Fair Share Housing Center, told The Star-Ledger. “He’s going to take it so far in the direction of towns doing whatever they want.” Fair Share says it will battle the governor’s move in court.