October 7, 2009
Re: S-1303/A-3062 “Inherently Beneficial Uses”
The League opposes S-1303/A-3062, which defines “inherently beneficial use” and includes facilities that supply electrical energy produced from wind, solar or photovoltaic technologies. If a use is deemed to be “inherently beneficial” it presumptively satisfied the criteria for a use variance under subsection d of section 57 of the MLUL, (i.e., a nonconforming use.) Thus, these uses would be considered inherently beneficial, even in residential zones.
We understand the intent of the bill, which is to promote alternate forms of energy. But, if indeed a project is beneficial to the community, the applicant has the option to go through the normal regulatory and democratic process. No such change in the statute is necessary.
While this is promoted as an energy bill, we view it as a land use bill and a problematic land bill. The bill effectively declares these alternate energy sources as “inherently beneficial uses” without regard to the particular zone in which the property is located, undermining the very purpose of zoning (that is to separate residential, commercial and industrial uses) and sound planning strategies.
S-1303 passed the Senate on June 25, 2009 and is currently on the Governor’s desk. We recommend that you consider the enclosed resolution at your next governing body meeting. ( WORD PDF )
Questions on this legislation can be directed to Mike Cerra at email@example.com or 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.