Permit Extension Bill Threatens Open Space
December 14th, 2011 by Chris Sturm
A bill to allow time extensions for certain development permits has been introduced in both houses of the state legislature. While we at New Jersey Future understand the desirability of deadline extensions during difficult economic times, our position is that they should only be granted in smart-growth areas. We are very concerned that this bill in its current form:
- Creates a new definition of smart-growth areas that includes open space and farmland previously not designated for growth;
- Amends the definition of environmentally sensitive areas, where deadline extensions were not allowed, in such a way that both the Pinelands and Highlands would no longer be off-limits;
- Runs counter to the principles espoused in Gov. Christie’s new State Strategic Plan.
We have opposed the bill in its current form, and have recommended changes that would still allow appropriate deadline extensions in smart-growth areas without jeopardizing our valued open space or environmentally sensitive areas. (Full statement (PDF), issued in partnership with the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Regional Plan Association.) We look forward to working with all affected stakeholders on amendments to the bill.