Council on Affordable Housing on shaky ground in N.J.

The New Jersey Assembly has approved a bill that would eliminate the Council on Affordable Housing. But Republican lawmakers and housing advocates don’t like it.Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said abolishing the council known as COAH will have some benefits.”Towns are removed from a lot of the obligation barriers that they had,” said Oliver. “It’s a great bill. It took six to nine months to get us to this place.”Assembly Republican Conference Leader John Bramnick said the measure calls for affordable housing quotas that Republicans oppose.”I believe we’re going to have to fight the prior Supreme Court decisions by enacting legislation that does not have quotas, that changes the rules of the game,” said Bramnick.A spokesman said Governor Chris Christie does not support the Assembly bill. The Fair Share Housing Center also opposes it because towns and cities would not have to build 71 percent of the affordable housing current law mandates. “Everybody is fine with the Council on Affordable Housing going away, but it needs to be replaced with a system that makes growing municipalities do their fair share,” said Kevin Walsh of the center. “Our hope that when this is considered going forward they’ll increase the obligations and then we’ll have a system that works.”

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