Legislative Update

2018 – 2019 UPDATES

Bill Permits special occasion events on preserved farmland under certain conditions
Synopsis This bill would establish a pilot program administered by the State Agricultural Development Committee (SADC) to allow special occasion events on preserved farmland.  The event would be required to use the agricultural or horticultural output of the farm to promote agricultural tourism and advance the agricultural or horticultural output of the preserved farmland. No new structures could be constructed for the special events (however temporary structures are allowed) and no extension of utilities is permitted. The special event must comply with all state and local laws, regulations, resolutions, and ordinances, but exempts the event from requiring the submittal of a variance or site plan on any parcel which is preserved farmland.  The event is considered a right of the property owner.  The event must not conflict with any deed restrictions.
2018-2019 Bill Number (Assembly) A5157
Primary Sponsor(s) Assembly Murphy (D-07), Calabrese (D-36), Dancer (R-12)
Introduced/First Reading 3/7/2019
Current Status Referred to Agricultural and Natural Resource Committee—No hearing set
Current Language https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A9999/5157_I1.PDF
2018-2019 Bill Number (Senate) S3393
Primary Sponsor(s) Senate Sarlo (D-36), Addiego (D-08)
Introduced/First Reading 1/24/2019
Current Status Third Reading/Passed (35-0); 2/21/2019
Current Language https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S3500/3393_I1.PDF
Notes Preserved Farmland is a special designation to certain farms which meet certain criteria.  Generally private land rights are exchanged for monetary and/or tax benefits.  The program is overseen by the SADC with the local assistance of the county agricultural development boards. This bill mirrors a current pilot program allowing for special occasion events to be conducted on wineries on preserved farmland.
Bill Permits municipalities to lease vacant municipal land for tiny home occupancy
Synopsis This bill would allow municipalities to adopt an ordinance to permit the leasing of vacant, municipal-owned land to owners or prospective owners of tiny homes for occupancy. The ordinance must address bulk requirements, use requirements, and whether or not the owner of the tiny home may sublease to others.
As with other permitted purposes for which a municipal can lease public land, the term would be limited to 50 years but could be extended for additional 25 year periods by the municipality via resolution or ordinance.The bill also mandates that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will establish rules and regulations for acceptable approaches to constructing and siting tiny homes and may disseminate this information to construction code officials, developers, and prospective owners/occupants in a regulatory guidance document.
2018-2019 Bill Number (Assembly) A4822
Primary Sponsor(s) Assembly Benjie (D-35), Tully (D-38), Swain (D-38)
Introduced/First Reading 12/17/2018
Current Status Third Reading/Passed (74-1-0); 6/27/19
Current Language https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A5000/4822_R1.PDF
2018-2019 Bill Number (Senate) S3393
Primary Sponsor(s) Senate Singleton (D-7)
Introduced/First Reading 1/31/2019
Current Status Referred to Community and Urban Affairs Committee –No second reading set
Current Language https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S3500/3408_I1.PDF
Notes In this bill, a “tiny home” is a dwelling that is 400 square feet or less in floor area, excluding lofts. This bill amends the “Local Lands and Buildings Law” (C.40A:12-1 et seq.) by adding leasing for tiny home occupancy to the list of public purposes for which local units may lease public land. Cited are the potential societal benefits to tiny home occupancy, including greater home affordability, lower environmental footprints, and lower crime rates on formerly vacant properties.
Bill Certification Program – Zoning Officer and Land Use Administrator
Synopsis This bill would not allow individuals to be appointed, reappointed, or permitted to continue employment as a zoning officer or land use administrator (including board secretaries), unless that individual holds a zoning officer or land use board administrator certificate – to be issued by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The DCA certification would require applicants to be a minimum of 21 years of age, to complete a DCA-administered training program, and to have 2 years of college or 2 years full-time experience equivalent. The training program would consist of 40 hours of training for zoning officers and 30 hours of training for land use administrators. A formal certification exam given by DCA would be required. Certification would be good for 3 years with 20 hours of CEUs required to recertify.
2018-2019 Bill Number (Assembly) A4725
Primary Sponsor(s) Assembly Vainieri Huttle (D-37), Quijano (D-20)
Introduced/First Reading 11/26/2018
Current Status Referred to State and Local Gov’t Committee—No hearing set
Current Language https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/A5000/4725_I1.PDF
2018-2019 Bill Number (Senate) S3601
Primary Sponsor(s) Senate Curz-Perez (D-05)
Introduced/First Reading 3/18/2019
Current Status Referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee – No hearing set
Current Language https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2018/Bills/S4000/3601_I1.PDF
Notes This professionalization bill has been around for 15 years. However, it has never gained any traction in the legislature. It is worth noting that there is no provision for tenure unlike Registered Municipal Clerk (RMC), Finance Officer (CFMO), Certified Tax Collector (CTC), and Certified Tax Assessor (CTA).


New Jersey Supreme Court Confirms MLUL Definition of “Application for Development”… -F.Clifford Gibbons, Esq.


In Dunbar Homes, Inc. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Franklin and the Township of Franklin the New Jersey Supreme Court contemplates what constitutes a complete filed “application for development” in reference to the “Time of Application Rule”, N.J.S.A 40:55D-10.5.  The Court decision reaffirms the authority of the Township zoning ordinance (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-3) and the Zoning Officer’s discretion to determine completeness.  For the full article, CLICK HERE.

This report was prepared by Ann Holtzman, Zoning Officer in the City of Hoboken.

With the New Jersey Legislature 2014-2015 session winding to a close there has been a flurry of activity on a number of bills. They are summarized below.

A3390 (S2309) Permits transmission of certain land use documents via email
Primary sponsors: Craig Coughlin, Nancy Pinkin, Jay Webber and Patrick Diegnan, Jr.

This bill would permit required notices to the clerk of an adjoining municipality and the county planning board to be sent via email with a confirmed receipt that the email was delivered.

The bill was passed by the Assembly by a 73-0 vote November 13, 2014 and sent to the Senate. The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee approved the bill in a 5-0 vote on December 10, 2015 and advanced it to the Senate for 2nd reading.

A4185 (S2424) Requires municipal land use plan element of master plan to address smart growth and storm resiliency, and storm sustainability issues
Primary sponsors: Tim Eustace and Grace Spenser

This bill would require that a municipal master plan’s land use element contain a statement of strategy concerning smart growth, storm resiliency with respect to energy supply and environmental infrastructure, and environmental sustainability.

It was reported out of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on March 19, 2015 on a 4-1 favorable vote and sent for 2nd reading in the Assembly. The Assembly adopted a floor amendment on June 25, 2015 but has taken no further action.

The Senate bill was reported out of the Senate Environmental and Energy Committee February 9, 2015 on a 4-0 favorable vote and sent up for 2nd reading but no further action has been taken to date.

A4716 Modifies performance and maintenance guarantee requirements under “Municipal Land Use Law”
Primary sponsor: Godon M. Johnson

This bill amends and expands upon those things covered by a performance guarantee for on-site improvements. It further adds provisions for phased projects, “temporary certificate of occupancy bonds” and “safety and stabilization bond” guarantees.

This bill was just introduced on November 11, 2015 and referred to the Assembly State and Local Government Committee. A matching Senate bill has not yet been introduced.

We will watch this bill and keep you informed on its progress. If approved, the new provisions included in the bill may require adoption by ordinance and regulations amended to your local municipal code to be implemented at the municipal level.

A4330 (S2313) Authorizes installation of automatic standby generators in certain residences without zoning or planning board approval
Primary sponsors: Mary Pat Angelini, Samuel L. Fiocchi, Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr., Jay Webber and Erik Peterson.

This bill would streamline the process by which an owner or occupant of a single or two-family residential property may install an automatic standby generator. The bill does prohibit siting of standby generators in front yards without local approval and require that local setback requirements and local ordinances regulating noise levels be followed.

The Senate bill was approved by a 35-0 vote on February 5, 2015. The bill has been received by the Assembly and referred to the Assembly State and Local Government Committee (or Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee) without further action to date.

Bills Previously Noted

Previously brought to your attention on this page are two bills sponsored by Loretta Weinberg and Joseph Pennacchio. S781 (A2900) addressing changes to the Open Public Meetings Act and S782 (A2763) addressing the Open Public Records Act, were introduced in 2014 and sent to committees by each house but have seen no activity during 2015.

S781 (A2900) calls for a wider definition of public bodies to include subcommittees and certain quasi-governmental entities, such as the NJ State League of Municipalities. It also addresses issues related to communication among members of a public body, the recording of meetings, the posting of meeting-related information on the Internet, and the use of closed sessions.

S782 (A2763), companion bill to S781, revises the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and changes the duties of the records custodian. It also revises the composition of the Government Records Council (GRE) and changes its status to “in but not of” the Department of Community Affairs.