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Karcher Bill To Enhance Public Notice Of Pending Development Advances

Legislation Would Allow Signs Posted on Property to be Developed, Increase Notice Requirements

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would allow municipalities to post signs marking where development is planned to take place on a property and increase the notice requirements from 200 feet to 300 feet from a proposed development was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 29-10.

“When development which could potentially change the face of a community is in the planning stages, local residents need the notification to let their voices be heard,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “Opening up the development planning process to increased public scrutiny and transparency is a good thing, and will put increased pressure on public officials to operate above the fray of political contributions. Through greater notification standards and signs marking where development is planned to take place, we can give the public the tools they need to fight development that is bad for their community.”

The bill, a Senate Committee Substitute for S-1428 and S-1540, would require municipal officials to notify property owners within 300 feet of a proposed development — up from the current 200 feet standard — when the development is in the planning stages. The bill would also allow municipal officials to post signs, established under local ordinance, on property which is subject to a pending development application. The legislation stems from two separate instances in the 12th Legislative District, where officials from Millstone and Marlboro attempted, through local ordinance, to institute such a policy, but were denied in courts. Accomplishing the same through Statewide legislation would strengthen the concept against legal challenge and allow the intent of the measure to be realized.

“We need to realize that so much is affected beyond the 200-foot mark that is currently notified of pending development,” said Senator Karcher. “Traffic patterns change, there is an increased drain on public utilities, and in many instances, property taxpayers subsidize major development through the cost of utility improvements necessary for the planned project to go through. Expanding the notification standards and allowing local officials to put up signs to let the public know of development projects in the works more accurately reflect the larger impact development can have in a municipality.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee for consideration.

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