Friday, June 29, 2012

NJ lawmakers breathe new life into old building permits

**Updated on July 2,  2012 to add related news story**

6Environmental organizations fought it all the way but a bill extending to 2014 the lives of expiring local and state building permits to help developers in a down economy has passed both houses of state legislature.

A-1338 is now on the desk of Gov. Chris Christie, who is expected to sign it.

Prior to final passage, the legislation was amended in both houses to assuage environmentalists' concerns about development in the state's environmentally sensitive Highlands area.

The final vote on the measure in the Assembly was  66-7 and 35-1 in the Senate.

Despite the concessions, the Sierra Club immediately labeled the measure as "one of the worst bills ever passed by the Legislature."

According to the organization's state director, Jeff Tittel: 

“This bill targets environmentally sensitive areas throughout New Jersey especially the Highlands, Pinelands, and Barnegat Bay. This legislation takes the side of developers interests over public interest. It takes the side of sprawl and over development over protecting water supply and natural resources.”

The size of the votes in both houses suggest that Mr. Tittel may be overreacting. 

What do you think? Share your views in the comment box below.  If one is not visible, activate it by clicking on the tiny 'comments' link.

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