This afternoon Governor Christie signed an executive order suspending the work of the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) for 90 days, except as necessary, in order to prevent the loss of affordable housing opportunities. The executive order calls for a five person task force to be appointed by the Governor. The task force is charged with studying various aspects of affordable housing and reporting to Governor within 90 days.

You can view a copy of the executive order here. Municipalities are constitutionally required to exercise their zoning discretion to allow for reasonable opportunities for affordable housing. Under the Fair Housing Act, COAH was created for the purpose of creating and enforcing those obligations. Unfortunately, most on all sides of the debate over affordable housing have agreed that COAH has fallen far short of it’s obligations and created at least as many problems as it has opportunities. Indeed, State Senator Raymond Lesniak has introduced legislation seeking to abolish COAH and create totally new mechanisms for creation of affordable housing. Where and how this issue will end remains to be seen, but certainly the Governor and Legislature are shaking up the "house" as relates to affordable housing.