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Important Highlands Bill Goes to Governor's Desk

Date : Thu, 11 Mar 2010 15:23:39 -0500

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2010 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100

Important Highlands Bill Goes to Governor's Desk

The Sierra Club is pleased that the Senate today passed the Highlands Transfer of Development Rights bill (S80). The bill has passed the Assembly and will now go to the Governor's desk.

This bill sets up a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program that allows for Highlands development credits to go statewide and not just within the Highlands counties.

"We think this is an important step forward in good planning and for providing a mechanism to save open space in the Highlands," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said. "This legislation shows why we need to fully fund Highlands programs that not only protect the Highlands but also protect the water supply for half the people of New Jersey. This legislation is a good reason why Governor Chris Christie should restore funding to the Highlands."

By allowing these credits to go statewide, other areas can buy the credits. TDR is a privately-funded mechanism that helps protect open space in environmentally-sensitive sending areas and allows for more development in urban receiving areas. It is an important tool for smart growth as well as land preservation. This legislation even has the support of people who do not support Highlands preservation.

The passage of this bill is an important step towards the preservation of the Highlands. However, cuts to Highlands programs by Governor Christie will undermine this important legislation. Governor Christie is proposing cutting $18 million in grants to aid municipalities as they conform to the Highlands Regional Master Plan. These funds are an important component in making this TDR program work.

Governor Christie is also cutting $12 million from the Highlands Stabilization Fund, which would help towns make up for lost revenue and stabilize taxes.

"We're pleased this bill passed but it just underscores why Governor Christie should not cut supportive programs for the Highlands," Tittel said.

Kara Seymour, Program Assistant NJ Sierra Club

145 W. Hanover Street Trenton, NJ 08618

609.656.7612

(f) 609.656.7618

<http://www.newjersey.sierraclub.org> www.newjersey.sierraclub.org

Received on 2010-03-11 12:23:39

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
tel: 609 656 7612, fax 609 656 7618
or email Nicole Dallara, Outreach Coordinator, at nicole.dallara@sierraclub.org

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