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COAH’s New Ground Rules May Mean Less Affordable Housing

Thursday, July 3, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Greg Mayers
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NJspotlight.com 7/3/2014

 

The New Jersey Council of Affordable Housing is receiving a lot of protest and feedback with regards to latest regulations under consideration. The new affordable housing rules do not meet a New Jersey Supreme Court’s order and are different that what was proposed two months ago. These new rules are substantially different from those expired in 1999 and will lead to the construction of fewer affordable units, which is contradictory to the order from the Supreme Court last September mandating the adoption of rules substantially similar to its old regulations.

The rules call for about 31,000 new affordable homes statewide over the next decade and 22,000 units that should have been built as long ago as 1987, as well as the rehabilitation of almost 63,000 existing units. A number of people also complained that the rules COAH published in the June 2 edition of the New Jersey Register, a requirement for all state rule-making, are not the same as the ones the council approved by a 5-1 vote at an April 30 meeting, the first the body had held in almost a year.

Among the biggest changes was the deletion of language that advocates say will lead to as many as 37,000 fewer units being built. "What it really looks like is they made a political decision at the last minute to change what the COAH Board approved -- an unprecedented step that is illegal and just something we've never seen in any context before," said Adam Gordon, an attorney with Fair Share Housing Center, the Cherry Hill-based organization that won the lawsuit that forced COAH to write new rules. Richard Constable, commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs and COAH's chairman, denied that charge and said small changes in a rule that has been proposed by a public body can be made without that group having to approve it again.


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