407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

At the May 28th Plan Implementation Subcommittee meeting, the Subcommittee agreed to revise the draft regulations. Many of the revisions reflect the concerns listed below. We will monitor the new regulations and keep you advised.


May 21, 2003

Timothy J. Touhey, Chairman
State Planning Commission
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
101 South Broad Street
P.O. Box 204
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0204


Re: Readoption and Recodification with Amendments
of N.J.A.C. 17:32 as 5:85

Dear Chairman Touhey:

The New Jersey State League of Municipalities hereby objects to the readoption and recodification with amendments of N.J.A.C. 17:32 as 5:85. The objection is based on a number of general subjects.

First, the League supports State Planning as a bottom up process. The result was developed from cross acceptance. The League has always maintained that a top down or regulatory approach would cause municipalities to withdraw support for the State Planning process. The concept of the State Planning Commission having the power to initiate amendments to the State Plan Policy Map (5:85-8.3), and suspending regulations pending substantial amendments (5:85-1.7), smacks of a top down approach which is inconsistent with the State Planning Act and denies municipalities predictability in the process.

Second, the current Administration has repeatedly said that it intends to simplify the processing of center designations and plan consistency for plan endorsement. The amendments, however, propose to make it more complex, or at the least, fail to simplify the process. The proposed modifications in N.J.A.C. 5:85-7.4 are on point. The proposal contemplates a “pre-petition meeting” prior to filing a petition for plan endorsement. Before a municipality can have such a meeting, it must submit: ten copies (and an electronic copy) of plans, reports, land use regulations, supporting documents and maps; a statement of current planning; an inventory of existing natural and built infrastructure; present and projected population, households and employments; report on estimated outcomes of current planning; report on existing regulations; a vision of the future; and a proposed plan of action. After incurring the cost of these unfunded mandated reports and studies, the documents are to be reviewed pursuant to “guidelines.” The preparation of multiple reports and studies does not serve to simplify the process. A review based upon guidelines, which can easily change or be subject to interpretation, places too much discretion in a reviewer who can make subjective determinations. The regulations need to provide a clear and simple process, with standards that provide predictability. The outcome should not depend upon the subjective view of the reviewer, or other extraneous influences.

The League will continue to support efforts by the State to assist municipalities in their planning efforts. We will oppose, however, efforts to dictate or control municipal planning. Regulatory efforts should be focused on simplification of the process, deference to municipalities, defining smart growth and adding predictability; not on attempts to establish an overreaching bureaucracy with subjective control over municipal planning.

Very truly yours,


407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

At the May 28th Plan Implementation Subcommittee meeting, the Subcommittee agreed to revise the draft regulations. Many of the revisions reflect the concerns listed below. We will monitor the new regulations and keep you advised.


May 21, 2003

Timothy J. Touhey, Chairman
State Planning Commission
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
101 South Broad Street
P.O. Box 204
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0204


Re: Readoption and Recodification with Amendments
of N.J.A.C. 17:32 as 5:85

Dear Chairman Touhey:

The New Jersey State League of Municipalities hereby objects to the readoption and recodification with amendments of N.J.A.C. 17:32 as 5:85. The objection is based on a number of general subjects.

First, the League supports State Planning as a bottom up process. The result was developed from cross acceptance. The League has always maintained that a top down or regulatory approach would cause municipalities to withdraw support for the State Planning process. The concept of the State Planning Commission having the power to initiate amendments to the State Plan Policy Map (5:85-8.3), and suspending regulations pending substantial amendments (5:85-1.7), smacks of a top down approach which is inconsistent with the State Planning Act and denies municipalities predictability in the process.

Second, the current Administration has repeatedly said that it intends to simplify the processing of center designations and plan consistency for plan endorsement. The amendments, however, propose to make it more complex, or at the least, fail to simplify the process. The proposed modifications in N.J.A.C. 5:85-7.4 are on point. The proposal contemplates a “pre-petition meeting” prior to filing a petition for plan endorsement. Before a municipality can have such a meeting, it must submit: ten copies (and an electronic copy) of plans, reports, land use regulations, supporting documents and maps; a statement of current planning; an inventory of existing natural and built infrastructure; present and projected population, households and employments; report on estimated outcomes of current planning; report on existing regulations; a vision of the future; and a proposed plan of action. After incurring the cost of these unfunded mandated reports and studies, the documents are to be reviewed pursuant to “guidelines.” The preparation of multiple reports and studies does not serve to simplify the process. A review based upon guidelines, which can easily change or be subject to interpretation, places too much discretion in a reviewer who can make subjective determinations. The regulations need to provide a clear and simple process, with standards that provide predictability. The outcome should not depend upon the subjective view of the reviewer, or other extraneous influences.

The League will continue to support efforts by the State to assist municipalities in their planning efforts. We will oppose, however, efforts to dictate or control municipal planning. Regulatory efforts should be focused on simplification of the process, deference to municipalities, defining smart growth and adding predictability; not on attempts to establish an overreaching bureaucracy with subjective control over municipal planning.

Very truly yours,


William G. Dressel, Jr.  
Executive Director

 

 

 

 

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