Assembly Panel Releases Bill To Extend Development Permits For Stalled Projects

TRENTON– An Assembly panel has released bipartisan legislation intended to promote job creation and economic development by extending the life of development projects stalled by the economic downturn was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill (A-4422) would extend governmental approvals for development projects until Dec. 31, 2014. Current law extends the permits until Dec. 31, 2012.

Projects have stalled due to the inability of the banking, real estate and construction industries to obtain financing in the current economic downturn. The lapse of the permit approvals could cause a decline in the value of real estate involved in the projects, job losses and require a reclassification of loans.

“We want New Jersey businesses struggling to survive this economy to use their vital resources on job creation, not on applying over and over again for new permits,” said Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), the Assembly budget chairman and incoming-majority leader. “Businesses and workers need to know New Jersey is doing everything it can to help them through this difficult time and keep us competitive with neighboring states. I hope the Governor will join with the Assembly in supporting this job creating bill, especially as New Jersey now lags behind the nation in reducing unemployment.”

The New Jersey Sierra Club is against the proposed legislation. “This is one of those special interest bills they try to pass quietly in the middle of the night,” said club director Jeff Tittel. “The Permit Extension Act would undermine attempts to protect people from flooding and toxic sites and would add to water pollution and sprawl in New Jersey,” he said.

“Although the builders are using the economy as an excuse, this is really an example of special interest money trying to influence the legislature to the detriment of the public. If we allow the builders to wreak havoc on public health and the natural resources we depend on for our economic and physical well-being, it will cost us far more than any recession ever could.”

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