June 24, 2011
Re: Governor Conditionally Vetoes S-2006/A-3125, Regulating Solar Panels
On Thursday, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed 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 League opposed this bill as an unnecessary intrusion on local zoning discretion and welcomes the Governor’s action.
In his conditional veto message, the Governor recommends the full preservation of a municipality’s zoning authority, while seeking to strike a balance between it and the state’s policy of promoting renewable energy sources. The Governor recommends striking all of Section 1 of the bill, which restricted municipal zoning discretion.
Further, the Governor’s recommendations propose new language to clarify what a municipality may charge for processing costs. The proposed language reads,
“…a municipality’s processing costs shall include all costs related to any administrative, professional, or technical review, analysis, or handling of an application. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit a municipality, by ordinance, from imposing any fee upon an application that is reasonable and consistent with the provisions of the “Municipal Land Use Law,” P.L. 1975, c291 (C. 40:55D-1 et seq.).”
Lastly, the Governor’s recommendations proposed a definition for “photovoltaic solar panel” as,
“an elevated panel or plate, or a canopy or array thereof, that captures and converts solar radiation to produce power, and includes flat plate, focusing solar connectors, or photovoltaic solar cells;”
The bill is now returned to the Legislature for consideration of the Governor’s recommendations. For more on this bill, please see our May 11 Dear Mayor letter.
Questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at email@example.com or at 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.