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, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The ruling comes after a decade of litigation over the agency's proposed rules to determine municipalities' housing obligations for low- and moderate-income residents. 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
A Christie spokesman said the ruling was "a call to action to finally finish the job of reforming our affordable housing system so that it is no longer a costly burden to the people of New Jersey and actually encourages sound development."