TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph V. Doria, Jr. which would allow municipalities to exempt senior citizen homeowners from construction permit fees to promote senior home improvements was approved today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee by a vote of 4-0.
“For many living out their retirement years in New Jersey, fixed incomes and the high cost of living mean little in the way of rainy day savings,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “When seniors need to make repairs on their homes, many simply cannot afford to with all of the other expenses they face on a daily basis. Through this legislation, we’re making it a little easier for seniors to afford home repairs and improvements needed to make their homes safe and comfortable.”
The bill, S-1759, would allow municipalities to provide, through local ordinance, that senior citizen homeowners over the age of 62 could be exempt from being charged construction permit fees. The bill specifies that seniors would not be charged construction permit surcharge fees for construction, reconstruction, alteration or improvement of a home that is owned and occupied as their primary residence. Under current law, municipalities have the option of not charging permit surcharges on home improvements needed to make a public or private facility more accessible to persons with physical disabilities.
“Right now, municipal officials have the option to waive construction permits, and we’re seeking to expand that authority,” said Senator Doria, who also serves as Mayor of Bayonne. “For seniors, even low-cost and necessary home repairs can be a financial hardship. With this legislation, we’re giving seniors greater incentive to make the repairs they need to in order to remain integral parts of their communities.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.