APRIL 9, 2015, 1:30 PM LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2015, 11:55 PM
BY SALVADOR RIZZO
STATE HOUSE BUREAU |
A state appeals court on Thursday blocked Governor Christie’s efforts to take $160 million out of trust funds that towns use to build low-cost housing units for poor, disabled and elderly residents.
It was the latest setback for Christie in a legal battle brewing for years over New Jersey’s troubled housing program for poor residents. Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled that Christie’s inaction on affordable-housing matters had gone on too long and required an urgent fix.
As an end run around the Christie administration, the high court put judges in charge of setting rules and giving guidance to towns on how many low-cost housing units they should be building. With Thursday’s ruling by the appeals court, the judiciary is now set to take control of millions of dollars in housing funds to implement those plans.
Christie, a Republican, in 2012 tried to take the housing funds to help balance the state budget. The appeals court rejected his position and faulted his administration for ignoring previous court orders, declining to write statewide housing regulations and leaving New Jersey towns in the dark as to how many homes should be built for their lowest-income residents.