Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Christie Halts COAH Efforts

Today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed Executive Order 12 creating the Housing Opportunity Task Force, which will initiate an immediate review of the Commission on Affordable Housing and its continued existence.
The mission of the group will be to examine the regulations and methodologies of COAH, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the State Planning Act in meeting the constitutional obligations of the Mt. Laurel­ court decisions in a manner that is consistent with sound planning and economic growth for the state.
“COAH’s conflicting messages and edicts to municipalities and builders have made it a planning nightmare and a source of endless litigation,” said Governor Christie. “This Task Force will help formulate a sensible planning system that considers economic growth and development, the character of our communities and our commitment to affordable housing opportunities for our residents.”
The Task Force will be chaired by former Senator Marcia Karrow and will be comprised of five members. The task force will serve without compensation, and will be dissolved after issuing its final report in 90 days.
During that time, COAH is to refrain from taking any further action to process applications for substantive certification or to take any other actions to implement the Third Round regulations. Previously, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Mt. Laurel I and II identified a constitutional obligation on the part of municipalities to provide, by their land use regulations, the provision of affordable housing in a manner that is both fair and reasonable. Delays, inefficiencies, sky-rocketing costs and continued litigation have rendered COAH impractical and ineffective.

The Task Force will work to:

· identify the best means for determining whether a municipality should have any further affordable housing obligation;

· examine the regions that have been used by COAH for more than 20 years and whether they are still appropriate;

· review the means of incorporating workforce housing into the concept of affordable housing;

· evaluate the diverse State projections for housing and employment growth to determine the obligation for a variety and choice of housing;

· determine mechanisms that could or should be used to support the rehabilitation of deteriorating housing in the urban centers;

· find economies, efficiencies and savings to meet affordable housing needs;

· determine the appropriateness of methodologies that continue to include prior round need

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