Assembly Panel Advances Bill To Streamline & Promote “Smart Growth”

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TRENTON – The Assembly Budget Committee on Tuesday approved a measure to streamline the development approval process to encourage Smart Growth in New Jersey.

Under the bill (A-3295), many of the approval rights granted to general developments would be conferred upon Smart Growth developments to streamline the process and avoid fluctuating requirements as developments get underway.

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Currently, general development plan approvals confer vested rights upon the applicant for a three-year period following the date of approval.  The vested rights acquired by the applicant guarantee that the general terms and conditions on which preliminary approval was granted will not be changed, including but not limited to use requirements; layout and design standards for streets, curbs and sidewalks; lot size; yard dimensions and off-tract improvements.

General development plan approvals also ensure that initial zoning requirements approved at the time of application will not change for at least two years.  If the developer has followed the standards prescribed for final approval, the planning board may extend such period of protection for extensions of one year but not to exceed three extensions.

Under the bill approved Tuesday, this same approval mechanism would be extended to projects with a nonresidential floor area of 150,000 square feet or more or with 100 residential dwelling units or more, on sites of 100 acres or less in areas located in certain areas as set forth in the 2001 New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan as well as other designated “Smart Growth” areas.


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