Trenton – In an effort to better protect farmland, Senator Dawn Addiego and Senate President Steve Sweeney today announced their plan to introduce legislation 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-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “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 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. Specifically, the bill would revise the definitions of “redevelopment area” and “rehabilitation area” used in the 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.”
“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 further ensuring the protection of these vital spaces and preventing further warehouse sprawl, which will help keep New Jersey green for decades to come.”
“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 last month,” added Senator Addiego.
“We are grateful that Senator Addiego and Senate President Sweeney took time to speak with Mansfield Township residents. For years, our township has experienced the use of redevelopment/ PILOT programs that have taken active farmland and allowed it to be converted into warehouses. Senate President Sweeney and Senator Addiego share our residents’ concerns regarding the negative quality of life and environmental consequences that will occur when farms are plowed over for warehouses,” said Committeeman Daniel Golenda from Mansfield Township. “Closing this loophole protects New Jersey’s ‘Garden State’ heritage, our families, and our delicate ecosystems. We thank Senator Addiego and Senate President Sweeney for hearing our concerns, showing their leadership and representing the voice of the people.”