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November 15, 2013

Re: I.     Legislation regarding Defeated School Budget Deadline Advances Vote Scheduled for the Senate on Monday
II.    A-323/S-2074 – Permits “Agricultural Tourism” Activities on Preserved Farmland

Dear Mayor:

I.          Legislation regarding Defeated School Budget Deadline Advances
Vote Scheduled for the Senate on Monday

On Thursday, the Senate Education Committee unanimously supported A-248/S-2458, which requires the Commissioner of Education to change the deadline for municipal review of defeated school budgets whenever he changes the annual school election date.  A-248/S-2458 addresses an oversight that has created an inadequate time frame for governing bodies to act upon a defeated school budget.  (For more information please see our November 12 Dear Mayor Letter). 

The League enthusiastically supports A-248/S-2458 and thanks Senator Bucco, Assemblymen Schaer and Diegnan and Assemblywoman DeCroce for supporting and advancing this important legislation.  We would also like to thank Senator Ruiz for posting this bill for consideration by the Senate Education Committee.

The bill now heads for a vote before the full Senate on MondayPlease contact your Senator and urge them to vote yes on A-248/S-2458.

If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x112.

II.        A-323/S-2074 – Permits “Agricultural Tourism” Activities on Preserved Farmland

Also on Thursday, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved A-323 and S-2074, which would permit “special occasion events” to be conducted on preserved farmland.  The League opposes the legislation.

The proposed amendments circumvent the objectives of the State’s successful farmland preservation efforts, in which public dollars have been committed to permanently preserve prime agricultural lands throughout the Garden State.  

Further, A-323 & S-2074 would qualify preserved farmland for commercial activities without the appropriate degree of local input and oversight over the frequency, intensity and other planning related impacts. The municipality and the neighboring residents might have to deal with increased traffic, litter, solid waste and noise issues. Accordingly, the local governing body should be allowed the broad discretion to determine when and if each of the designated events should be allowed, and to set conditions on a permitted activity.  In this case, this is not an issue that can or should be dealt with a single, statewide standard.   Municipalities should be accorded the appropriate oversight to balance the concerns of the farm and those of its residential and commercial neighbors.

The bill can be scheduled for a Senate vote.   We would recommend notifying your State Senator with these concerns.   Questions can be directed to Mike Cerra at mcerra@njslom.com or 609-695-341 x120.
Very truly yours,


William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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