By Pat Loeb

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that Governor Christie cannot abolish the state’s Council on Affordable Housing.

The state legislature created the Council in 1985 to oversee the development of low-income housing, but a governor’s task force declared it “irrevocably broken” and, two years ago, the governor unilaterally moved its functions into the Department of Community Affairs with the stated intention of streamlining the process (see related story).

Affordable housing advocates protested that the Council was designed specifically to be outside the reach of the executive branch and its potentially political considerations.

And now, the state’s high court has agreed.

“We’re thrilled. There’s no better way to put it — we’re just thrilled,” says Nina Arce of the Housing and Community Development Network.  She says she hopes the decision will allow the Council to resume its job of providing housing for low-income and special needs residents.

Gov. Christie quickly issued a written statement that said, “Both elected branches of government approved the plan to eliminate COAH.   Not surprisingly, this liberal Supreme Court once again ignores that and continues to blindly perpetuate its failed social experiment in housing.  The Chief Justice’s activist opinion arrogantly bolsters another of the failures he and his colleagues have foisted on New Jersey taxpayers.  This only steels my determination to continue to fight to bring common sense back to New Jersey’s judiciary.”


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