Diary rescue from Tuesday, with thanks to Yvette for an update on the continuing favoritism the Christie administration extends to New Jersey’s wealthy at the expense of lower-income NJ residents – and what housing advocates like Fair Share Housing Center are doing about it. Promoted by Rosi.
In 1985, following multiple state Supreme Court rulings that towns in New Jersey cannot exclude low- and moderate-income families through their planning and zoning powers, the New Jersey Legislature created the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). The Council, tasked with creating regulations on each municipality’s “fair share” of homes affordable to low- and moderate-income people, worked fairly well – with the notable exception of the since-outlawed Regional Contribution Agreements, which allowed wealthy towns to buy out of their fair share – through the 1980s and 1990s. Since 2000, COAH has been attempting and failing to come up with a new installment of regulations. The latest proposal by COAH, currently going through the administrative rulemaking process, is another disastrous failure.
This is not surprising because Governor Christie has consistently taken the position that towns should be able to exclude low- and moderate-income people, even people who work in their town. In September 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejected the Christie Administration’s so-called “growth share” approach to making New Jersey’s fair housing laws optional, and charged the Council with coming up with rules that followed what worked in the 1980s and 1990s. COAH’s response was the latest third round rules, which were released – after unexplained delays – on April 30, 2014. A process for commenting on the rules just concluded on August 1, including a public hearing in July that was packed with a diverse array of opponents to the rules. The Christie Administration and COAH are now considering the comments, with a final deadline of November 17 to adopt final rules.