|October 20, 2008
S-1303 & A-3062 Inherently Beneficial Use
The League opposes S-1303 and A-3062, which defines “inherently beneficial use” and includes facilities that supply electrical energy produced from wind, solar or photovoltaic technologies.
We understand the intent of the bill, which is to promote alternate forms of energy. However, a statutory definition for the term “inherently beneficial use” is fraught with concerns for local governments and the planning process. If a use is deemed to be “inherently beneficial” it satisfies the positive criteria for a use variance under subsection d of section 70 of the MLUL, and could be located anywhere in a community.
The League has opposed past efforts to introduce a definition for “inherently beneficial use” because special interests have sought additional amendments to exempt their constituencies. If indeed a project is beneficial to the community, the applicant has the option to go through the normal regulatory process. No such change in the statute is necessary.
While the League supports the development of alternate energies, we believe that by defining in the statute “inherently beneficial use” for the purposes of these efforts sets a bad precedent.
The Senate bill, S-1303, was approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee, and awaits a vote by the full Senate. Its Assembly companion, A-3062, sits with the Assembly Environment committee.
We suggest contacting your legislators and ask them to oppose these bills. Questions on this letter can be directed to Mike Cerra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481 x120.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.