TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, Chairman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee and author of legislation to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) in favor of a fairer, market-driven affordable housing policy, issued the following statement today regarding Governor Chris Christie’s announcement of an executive order to create an advisory panel to review COAH and make recommendations:
“As the prime sponsor of S-1, which will put an end to COAH’s over-reaching, unworkable top-down mandates, I’m encouraged by the section in Governor Christie’s executive order that freezes COAH. Through this order, COAH won’t be able to do any more damage to New Jersey’s economic well-being. Affordable housing development and job growth will once again be allowed to take place without the agency’s cumbersome and costly rules and regulations.
“I look forward to briefing Governor Christie’s COAH advisors on S-1, which I have been working on with Senator Bateman for over 6 months in consultation with the brightest and most productive market rate and affordable housing developers, municipal government leaders, planners and business executives in New Jersey.
“Based on testimony presented at two meetings of the Senate Economic Growth Committee, I will make a committee substitute available for public review next week. I expect to have S-1 pass both the Senate and Assembly well in advance of the 90-day timeline for recommendations from the Governor’s advisory panel.
“I believe that, moving forward together, the Legislature and the Governor can create a better model for addressing the affordable housing needs of our State residents. COAH has been an abject failure in that regard, has slowed job growth, and will impede our recovery from the Great Recession.
“I applaud the Governor for making affordable housing reform a priority, and look forward to meeting with his advisory panel.”