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Dumb Growth

Date : Mon, 15 Mar 2010 15:44:38 -0400

For Immediate Release
March 15, 2010 Contact: Jeff Tittel, Director, Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter, 609-558-9100

Dumb Growth Time of Decision Passes

The Sierra Club is calling on Governor Christie to veto legislation passed today by the Assembly that will hinder the ability of municipalities to do sound land use planning. The bill, S82/A437, alters the process that exempts developers from changes in municipal ordinances and zoning.

"This bill is dumb growth and a giveaway to developers at the expense of the environment and good planning. It undermines the rights of citizens and local governments to protect natural resources and determine the future growth of their communities," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.

Under the current law, developers must have preliminary approval, which includes a public hearing, on an application in order to be exempted. S82/A437 changes than and requires that developers only have to file an application to be exempted from changes in municipal rules or zoning. Incomplete or inaccurate applications would still be protected, allowing the builder immunity from any land use planning changes.

"This is the equivalent of someone obtaining approval for a driver's license without being required to successfully complete a written exam or a road test," Tittel said.

S82/A437 allows developers to file applications and then sit on them for years, even decades thanks to the recent renewal of the Permit Extension Act. Municipalities that attempt to redo the master plan or craft ordinances promoting smart growth and protecting natural resources will be blocked from making progress under this bill.

"This bill is another way for developers to get around the public process and override the voice of citizens in towns who are trying to do right thing by supporting smart growth and natural resource protection," Tittel said.

S82/A437 is 11th out of 15 bills the builders have been pushing. This bill will not help the economy because it will allow developers to sit on applications for years before completing them. This is simply another attack on environmental protections and another example that New Jersey is being handed over to the developers. All this bill will accomplish is more sprawl, more overdevelopment, more pollution, and higher property taxes.

This bill would prevent implementation of the State Plan, the Highlands Plan, Transit Villages, Cluster Development and changes in the Pinelands. Towns in the Highlands Planning Area are currently working to come into conformance with the Highlands Plan. But, under this bill, developers will only have to file an application first and they would in be in compliance with the Highlands Plan.

The Senate passed the bill last week.

"This is just another outrageous attempt by the builders to push development throughout New Jersey, leading to more sprawl, overdevelopment, pollution, and higher property taxes," 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 2010-03-15 12:44:38

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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