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Changes to Municipal Land Use Law would make NJ municipalities more resilient

October 14th, 2020 by

Almost every year for the past two decades, New Jersey has experienced a presidential-declared disaster in some location along the coast while many New Jersey towns experience chronic flooding as a result of increasingly severe storms. These events are expected to grow worse as climate change continues to warm our atmosphere. As sea levels rise and flooding intensifies, the economic impact of each storm increases, and is felt by everyone. Residents seek to rebuild homes, businesses have to deal with ruined inventory and try to stay afloat when shops are flooded or destroyed, and commuters must navigate roads that are flooded or attempt to use transit that is inoperable in order to access basic necessities.

Climate-related hazards will only become more frequent and more damaging over time, so preparations and planning must start now. Currently, New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law does not account for climate change, but a bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith (S2607) and Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (A2785) would require the land use plan element of municipal master plans assess likely impacts associated with climate change-related risks and devise strategies to address them. This type of forward-thinking land use planning is critical to keeping New Jerseys residents, businesses, and the environment safe and thriving. 

The bill has cleared the Senate and made it through the Assembly Environment and Energy Committee. New Jersey Future hopes to see this legislation pass through the Assembly and signed into law so our cities and towns can start planning for a more resilient tomorrow. To support the bill, email Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin  (asmcoughlinatnjlegdotorg)   and ask him to post the bill for Assembly vote.

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