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Senate Clears Rice Bill Insulating Development Plans From Changes In Regulations & Local Ordinances

Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex)

Measure Would Ensure Predictability, Fairness in Projects

TRENTON – Legislation Senator Ron Rice sponsored to allow local development applications to be evaluated under the sets of rules and ordinances in place at the time when a proposal was first filed today passed the Senate.

The measure, S-82, aims to prevent municipal officials from seeking to amend a local ordinance as a means of blocking a specific project.

“Builders deserve fairness and predictability when approaching a project,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Local officials should not be allowed to use ever-changing rules and ordinances as a back-door way of preventing an approved project from going forward.”

The Rice bill would require the development regulations in effect on the date of submission of a development application be the standard governing the review of that application. Only ordinance changes pertaining to public health and safety adopted after the date of submission could be enforced.

“Builders already must carefully tailor their plans to meet a litany of local rules and regulations,” said Rice. “Allowing the rules to change mid-game would only place another damper on New Jersey’s economic climate and could prevent much-needed urban revitalization projects from ever getting off the drawing board.”

The measure passed 27-7. It now heads to the Assembly for further consideration.