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Legislative "Tool Kit" to Dismantle Good Planning and Environmental Protections

Date : Mon, 27 Sep 2010 13:24:15 -0400

  For Immediate Release

September 27, 2010 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100

Legislative "Tool Kit" to Dismantle Good Planning and Environmental Protections

The Assembly Environment Committee has passed A3272, a bill allowing municipalities review their Master Plan every ten years instead of the current six years.

This bill undermines good planning and environmental protections and will cost taxpayers money. When towns complete reviews of their Master Plans, they make updates based on new environmental rules and fiscal analysis. More frequent updates of Master Plans enable towns to come up with vision and better planning for their communities.

A3272 is part of a so-called "tool kit" designed to save towns money, but instead of saving money, it will cost communities more due to additional school construction costs, flooding, and other problems that arise from poor planning.

"They are not using this tool kit to save money; they are using it to take away good planning and important environmental protections, which will end up costing towns money," NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said.

Not only does this bill promote bad planning, but with the passage of Time of Decision, it becomes a dangerous pro-sprawl and overdevelopment bill. This bill is a giveaway to developers, locking in old zoning that does not reflect environmental needs. This bill is part of a group of a dozen pieces of legislation that have come forward in the last few years as part of an attempt to turn New Jersey over to developers. This bill, combined with bills like Permit Extension, and Time of Decision, are part of an ongoing assault against good planning and environmental regulations in New Jersey.

When the legislature tried to justify the Time of Decision bill, in which developers only have to file an application to be exempted from changes in rules or zoning, they said towns would have to re-examine their Master Plans every six years. Now, with this legislation, that will be extended to 10 years. These laws that promote bad zoning and bad planning are allowing developers to sprawl out and pave over New Jersey.

We're also concerned that extending the requirements for review of Master Plans will keep bad planning in place by undermining efforts in the Highlands Region to conform to that Master Plan or deal with the new affordable housing bill that will be coming out.

"This is dumb growth. It not only undermines good planning but also hurts the environment and costs taxpayers money because of the increase in sprawl, overdevelopment and traffic," 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 2010-09-27 10:24:15

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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