Trenton – In an effort to better protect farmland, the Senate Economic Growth Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Dawn Addiego and Senate President Steve Sweeney that would exclude farmland as a redevelopment or rehabilitation area under the “Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.”
“As the Garden State, we are fortunate to have an abundance of farmland throughout New Jersey that can be used for agricultural and horticultural purposes,” said Senator Addiego (D-Burlington/Camden/Atlantic). “However, a loophole in our current law is allowing farmland to be ‘redeveloped’ into warehouses, straining our infrastructure and threatening the future of the farming sector. Alongside further efforts to prevent warehouse sprawl, we must protect the valuable green spaces we have throughout the state and ensure they are preserved as farmland as intended.”
The bill, S-4067, would amend the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law to specify that farmland is not a redevelopment area or an area in need of redevelopment under that law.
“In the last few years, we have taken great lengths to protect our state’s farmlands,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “By taking these steps to exclude farmland from being classified as a redevelopment area or rehabilitation area, we are ensuring the protection of these vital spaces and preventing further warehouse sprawl, which will help keep New Jersey green for decades to come.”
Specifically, the bill would revise the definitions of “redevelopment area” and “rehabilitation area” used in the existing law to specifically exclude any land actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use that is valued, assessed, and taxed pursuant to the “Farmland Assessment Act of 1964,” except if the site is subject to remediation and cleanup of environmentally hazardous materials or contaminants in accordance with State or federal law.
“I want to thank Deputy Mayor Bob Tallon and Committeeman Daniel Golenda from Mansfield who brought this issue to our attention during our meeting on warehouse sprawl this summer,” added Senator Addiego.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.