(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Monday cleared legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Bob Andrzejczak and Vince Mazzeo to ensure that New Jersey residents rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy do not face excessive bureaucratic fees for repair or reconstruction.
“The administrative costs of rebuilding just add to the frustrations many families have experienced in the years since Hurricane Sandy,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). “Ensuring that New Jersey residents are not subject to increased fees as they continue to restore damaged structures will facilitate the process of helping homeowners and business owners get back on their feet.”
The bill (A-4464) would set fees for Department of Environmental Protect permits and approvals for the repair or construction of a structure damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy at no more than the amount in effect on Oct. 28, 2012. Under the legislation, the DEP would be prohibited from charging an application fee higher than the fee that was in place on this date for an application for a permit or approval related to Sandy repair or reconstruction.
Applicants who have already paid a fee in excess of that in effect in October 2012 would be permitted to request a refund from the department for the difference charged under the bill.
“Increases in application and permit fees are like salt in the wound for the many who desperately want to get back to normal after losing so much due to Hurricane Sandy,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Building on recent legislation to increase efficiency and transparency in the distribution of Sandy aid money, this bill continues the fight to ensure that those who still struggle to rebuild nearly three years after the storm get the help they need.”
The measure, which would take effect immediately and expire on the first day of the fourth year following the date of enactment, was released by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. It now awaits further consideration by the Assembly speaker.