Revision to Land Use Law Advances Smart Growth
July 7th, 2011 by Chris Sturm
Last Friday, the Governor signed legislation that updates the Municipal Land Use Law to make municipal “General Development Plan” (GDP) approvals and other longer-term approvals available to higher-density projects, including those with a mix of uses.
GDP approvals offer municipalities a way to facilitate large-scale projects by agreeing to insulate the developer from subsequent changes in law for a period longer than normally allowed. These provisions especially help larger, more complex projects to be built in phases. Municipalities may also offer long-term vesting of preliminary and final site plan approvals for such developments.
Until now, municipalities were not allowed to grant such approvals for projects covering less than 100 acres in size, regardless of how large they were in terms of the number of residential units or nonresidential square footage. The revised law allows municipalities to grant GDP approvals and long-term vesting of preliminary and final site plan approvals to projects with more than 100 units or 150,000 square feet of nonresidential floor area, or mixed-use projects of comparable size.
New Jersey Future supported the legislation because it provides a more flexible development approval process for the kinds of “vertical” smart growth projects that match market demand and can enhance livability.