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Eustace, McKeon, Barnes & Ramos Legislation Concerning Sandy Rebuilding Efforts Advances through Assembly

(TRENTON) – Multiple measures sponsored by the Assembly Democrats to support shore rebuilding efforts by amending current law to comply with FEMA requirements, set graded restrictions to protect New Jersey’s coastline communities and encourage the development of priorities for building, and were approved by an Assembly Panel today.

The bill (A-3890), sponsored by Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace, would provide a person with a limited exemption from local land use restrictions when raising a structure would otherwise result in violation of the local land restriction.

“The impact of Superstorm Sandy has presented New Jersey’s shore communities with unique concerns regarding the long term protection of our coastline,” said Eustace. “This bill package would address those concerns by encouraging an efficient and productive rebuilding process.”

Assemblyman’s McKeon’s legislation (A-3892), sponsored by Assemblyman McKeon, would amend current law requiring the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to develop a priority system and criteria for ranking shore protection projects. The bill also would amend current law concerning the use of monies in the Shore Protection Fund, to specify that projects must be consistent with the new priority system and criteria.

“As we continue with the rebuilding process, we will discover overlapping rules and regulations that may inhibit progress,” said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “One of those overlaps will be found in the requirements for Land Use permits. The State has never faced a rebuilding effort of this magnitude before Sandy. We must tread carefully and adjust accordingly in the months ahead as residents repair, rebuild and adapt their homes and businesses to the new requirements.”

The bill (A-3921), sponsored by Assemblymen Peter Barnes III and Ruben Ramos, would amend the Coastal Area Facility Review Act to change the types of development that require a CAFRA form the Department of Environmental Protection.

“Sandy’s destruction has changed how we build along our shoreline,” said Barnes (D-Middlesex). “Ensure protection of our coastal line and the communities along our coastline are our first priorities. This bill would update current guidelines to provide for post-sandy concerns.”

“Recovering from the devastation caused by Sandy will require planning and flexibility as we discover what our communities need to rebuild,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “Some of our current regulations will need to be adapted to comply with FEMA requirements; and some new restrictions will be created in light of our coastline that was reshaped by Hurricane Sandy. This bill package will support our towns in rebuilding their communities and getting back to living normally.”

The measures were approved by the Assembly Environment Committee. They will now go on to the Assembly Speaker who will decide when to post them for a floor vote.