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May 11, 2011

Re: S-2006/A-3125, Regulating Solar Panels

Dear Mayor:

On Monday, the Assembly approved by a vote of 64-10, S-2006/A-3125, which would prohibit municipal zoning ordnances from regulating solar panels under certain circumstances and limit the fees on certain installations of renewable energy.    The bill previously was approved by the Senate and now heads to the Governor for his consideration. 

Under this bill, a municipality would only be allowed to regulate solar panels on a roof if the panels rise twelve inches above the roof, or in the case of ground based panels if the total numbers of panels is greater than ten and located more than fifty feet away from the nearest property line. The League opposed this bill as an unnecessary intrusion on local zoning discretion. 

Further, a fiscal note prepared by the Office of Legislative Services on S-2006/A-3125 states that,

“…the enactment of the Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill No. 2006 would result in a decrease in municipal revenues for those municipalities that have adopted ordinances that permit the assessment of fees for the installation of photovoltaic solar energy systems or small wind energy systems.  If the fees charged by these municipalities generate revenues that are greater than the municipality’s processing costs for an application pertaining to the approval, installation or operation of a system, then they must reduced to a level that is sufficient to cover processing costs only.  This legislation reconfirms the provisions of N.J.S.40:55D-8b which provides that fees associated with the review of a zoning application should be established only for the purpose of recouping the costs of the particular municipal operation.”
We suggest that you bring this to the attention of your planning experts to assess the impact on your municipality.   You can contact the Office of the Chief Counsel to the Governor with any concerns at:

Jeff Chiesa, Chief Counsel to the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
609-777-2455
Fax: 609-777-0393

Questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or at 609-695-3481 x120.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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