Thursday, May 31, 2012

NJ Senate voting today on permit extensions and waivers

Vote yes--and no.  That's what environmental groups are urging New Jersey state senators to do today on bills to derail the DEP's controversial 'waiver' regulation and to extend the lives of previously issued development permits.

We covered the first bill, SCR-59, on Tuesday in Bill to squash NJDEP 'waiver' rule set for Senate vote.

The second, S-743 (Sarlo/Oroho), would extend relief granted to the state's development community in 2008 when the economic downturn dried up financing for construction projects.

At that point, the Legislature extended the expiration date of some previously issued local and state permits to Dec. 31, 2012, hoping the economy would recover by then. With little improvement since, lawmakers now are being asked to extend the life of those permits to Dec. 31, 2014.

Environmentalists claim the legislation not only extends the expiration dates but also slips in areas of the state's environmentally sensitive Highlands and Pinelands regions that were off limits to permit extensions under the 2008 legislation. New Jersey Highlands Coalition Executive Director Julia Somers calls it a "free pass for developers."

Related News:

Protect the Highlands planning area from developer freebies

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