PA 10-138—sSB 199

Planning and Development Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT AND DISSOLVING THE WOLCOTTVILLE SCHOOL SOCIETY

SUMMARY: The law requires the state, regions, and municipalities to prepare periodic plans for balancing the need to conserve and develop land. This act requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to develop a new process for adopting, revising, and implementing the five-year State Plan of Conservation and Development (State Plan of C&D) by incorporating “cross-acceptance,” comparing and reconciling local, regional, and state plans. The act also postpones, from March 1, 2011 to March 1, 2012, the deadline for revising the next five-year State Plan of C&D. In doing so, it resets the schedule for revising the plan.

The law requires municipalities to prepare 10-year plans of conservation and development and disqualifies those that fail to update their plans from receiving discretionary state funds until they do so or the OPM secretary waives this provision. The act relieves municipal planning commissions from the obligation to prepare or amend a municipal plan between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2013, and suspends the disqualification provision until July 1, 2014, after the next time the state adopts its revised Plan of C&D.

The act requires state agencies to review grant applications for proposed development, rehabilitation, or other construction projects for their compliance with some or all of the smart growth principles set out in legislation enacted in 2009 (PA 09-230, see BACKGROUND).

The act also officially dissolves the Wolcottville School Society and transfers real or personal property it owns to the Center Cemetery Association of Torrington, Inc.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except the section on the delay for municipal plans is effective July 1, 2010 and the provision on compliance with smart growth principles is effective October 1, 2010.

“CROSS-ACCEPTANCE” PROCESS

Under the act, “cross-acceptance” is a process by which different levels of governments' planning policies are compared and reconciled for compatibility among local, regional, and state plans. The act requires OPM to develop a new process for adopting, amending, revising, and implementing the State Plan of C&D, based on cross-acceptance, that incorporates:

1. public outreach and solicited public opinion on the preliminary plan;

2. comparison of the preliminary state plan with regional and local plans;

3. negotiation for consistency among the local, regional, and state plans;

4. a written statement describing areas of agreement and disagreement and those requiring modification; and

5. the draft and review of a final state plan.

OPM must use as a guideline the New Jersey State Planning Commission's 2004 Cross-Acceptance Manual. By January 5, 2011, OPM must submit a draft of the new process to the Continuing Legislative Committee on State Planning and Development.

NEW TIMEFRAMES FOR REVISIONS

The State Plan of C&D sets policies for locating large-scale, state-funded capital projects. The act postpones, by one year, the deadline for revising the plan and resets the time periods covered in the next plan from 2012-2017 to 2013-2018. Table 1 compares the schedule for revising the plan under prior law and the act.

Table 1: Timetable for State Plan of Conservation and Development

Action

Prior Law

The Act

Submit draft of revised plan to Continuing Committee

Before September 1, 2010

Before September 1, 2011

Make further revisions

Between December 1, 2010 and March 1, 2011

Between December 1, 2011 and March 1, 2012

Publish and disseminate plan

No later than March 1, 2011

No later than March 1, 2012

Conduct hearings

Not later than five months after publication (July 31, 2011)

Not later than five months after publication (July 31, 2012)

Submit final draft to Continuing Committee

By December 1, 2011 for the 2012-2017 plan

By December 1, 2012 for the 2013-2018 plan

By delaying the deadlines for revising the state plan, the act postpones the process for OPM's designation of “priority funding areas,” established by PA 05-205. That law generally restricts state funding for growth-related projects to these areas and establishes criteria for targeting state funding for such projects. The recommendations for delineating area boundaries are scheduled to be submitted when the next State Plan of C&D is submitted to the Continuing Legislative Committee on State Planning and Development.

BACKGROUND

New Jersey Cross-Acceptance Manual

On February 18, 2004, the New Jersey State Planning Commission approved the cross-acceptance manual “for the preparation, revision, and readoption of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan. ” New Jersey's plan was adopted using cross-acceptance whereby “planning policies are reviewed by government entities at all levels while providing an opportunity for the public to influence the development of these policies. ” The manual includes sections on the negotiating entities, public participation, and the elements of the cross-acceptance program and report.

Smart Growth Principles

The principles of smart growth as defined in PA 09-230 include standards and criteria for:

1. integrating planning to coordinate state, regional, and local tax, transportation, housing, environmental, and economic development policies;

2. reducing the extent to which municipalities depend on the property tax and compete for new growth by delivering services regionally;

3. redeveloping existing infrastructure and resources, including brownfields and historic places;

4. providing rail, public transit, bikeways, walking, and other transportation alternatives to automobile travel while reducing energy consumption;

5. developing or preserving housing affordable to households with different incomes (a) near transportation and employment centers or (b) where such housing is compatible with smart growth;

6. concentrating mixed use, mixed income development near transit nodes and civic, employment, or cultural centers; and

7. conserving and protecting natural resources by preserving open space, water resources, farmland, environmentally sensitive areas, and historic property and furthering energy efficiency.

OLR Tracking: MJ: KS: PF: ts