The long battle between Gov. Chris Christie’s administration and the courts over COAH escalated late Friday afternoon.
State appeals court Judge Jose Fuentes lambasted the administration for its disregard of the Council on Affordable Housing, questioning why the board hasn’t met in years, detailing times it must meet and threatening to punish people if it does not.
COAH, which hasn’t met regularly since 2010, was ordered by the state Supreme Court last year to write a set of guidelines about affordable housing by Feb. 26.
That deadline came and went last week with no new information from the state, much to the dismay of the three-member appellate court.
“COAH has failed to offer any plausible explanation for its failure to carry out this court’s order … (and it) has not done anything to comply with our straight-forward mandate,” Fuentes wrote, according to a story in The Star-Ledger
The judges have ordered a set of guidelines need to be drafted by March 26. It also ordered that COAH must meet on March 12 and 26 and again on May 14.
The guidelines will provide a road map and rulebook for towns and developers to follow regarding how much affordable housing must be included in new developments.
Christie has been an opponent of COAH since he came into office. His attempts to close the agency and transfer its powers elsewhere were rebuffed by the courts.
COAH is headed by Richard Constable, the commissioner of Community Affairs.
Tim Doherty, who has been on the COAH board since 2008, told The Star-Ledger that his attempts to meet with Constable or get the agency going have been met with silence.
“I got no communication whatsoever,” he told the paper.