Governor Chris Christie.

But the heroes of the day were the three-judge appellate panel of a NJ state appeals court, who blocked the governor’s method to balance the state budget. This decision will lead to thousands of affordable homes being built throughout New Jersey.

Clearly this statement is biased. Personally, at this point, I think Governor Christie is trying to do all he can to patchwork the debt he has caused to New Jersey’s economy and government infrastructure by not holding big business accountable for their misconduct.

You’ll have to find another way, Governor. And here I thought the Governor wanted to help people bounce back from Sandy? If that’s the case, the housing trust fund could be used to get homes built in those areas.

Supposedly, Christie’s argument is that towns have not come up with a plan to use the money within the four years allotted by a law passed in the state legislature in 2008, and the money is now to be given to the state. The counterargument by others is that there were no guidelines on how to use the money, because the last time COAH wrote affordable housing regulations was 1998.

So, what really seems to be the problem? The Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). To apply this to planning and the public interest, COAH needs to be greatly improved or restructured.

COAH was created in response to the Fair Housing Act of 1985 which made housing plan element a requirement specifically addressing the determination of present and future affordable housing needs and where additional affordable housing is to be located reflected by the NJ Supreme Court rulings known as the “Mount Laurel decisions.”

A quote from Governor Christie in the article states, “Christie tried to abolish COAH in 2010, saying the state should get ‘the hell out of the business of telling people how many units they’re supposed to have.'” If Governor Christie was to be a planner, clearly he’d favor the Public Interest as a Wise/Superior Interest. The purpose of COAH is to set regulations to help towns and cities make more informed decisions to help their specific individuals of their community.

Affordable housing has always been a controversy in planning and communities, wealthy residents of certain communities don’t want any, while low-income, underprivileged residents of other communities want more.

With this decision, the power is now stripped away from COAH and given to the courts to make the decisions on a case-by-case basis, as if judges didn’t make enough decisions on a daily basis.

From a cost-benefit analysis, I’m not too sure how this situation plays out. From a superficial perspective, courts will have more decisions to make which means more tax dollars to more court cases; depending on what happens to COAH, either members lose their jobs or they continue to get paid for doing less; and overall, Governor Christie has to find another way to balance the state budget as each department’s trust fund continues to diminish.

I’m not too sure how the justice system works, but hopefully the members of COAH get their act together, find inspiration to take authority and jurisdiction back under their agency. COAH needs to work to establish guidelines and regulations, so that towns and cities understand how to use the funds allocated to them to improve lives of those who need help finding a place to live.

The effects and actual solutions of the housing issues across New Jersey are something that seem to be dependent on a case by case basis and affected by different factors such as socioeconomic status and available employment opportunities.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/nj_court_blocks_christie_administration_from_seizi.html

Advertisements