Ruling from Appellate Division of NJ Superior Court Reinstates COAH

March 8, 2012 – In The News

On March 8, 2012 the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, in a published opinion, invalidated Governor Chris Christie’s 2011 Reorganization Plan, which had attempted to abolish the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).

In a pro bono matter, Fox Rothschild attorneys led by Henry L. Kent-Smith served as amicus counsel for the not-for-profit agencies who had challenged the governor’s abolition of COAH via his reorganization plan. The organizations represented by Fox Rothschild in this case include the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness.

In its ruling today, the court found the governor’s reorganization plan in violation of the New Jersey Reorganization Act and stated that neither New Jersey's Constitution nor statutes gave Governor Christie the power to adopt the plan. The court also ruled that the governor’s actions in abolishing COAH infringed on the New Jersey Constitution’s separation of powers and the court concluded that the power to abolish COAH lies exclusively with the New Jersey Legislature. Today’s decision reinstates COAH’s board and authority over municipal fair share obligations.