By a vote of 72-1, the full Assembly on Thursday granted final legislative approval to a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) that would allow industrial businesses in the Pinelands looking to expand to take advantage of certain incentives currently not available to them.
The bill (A-3914) would allow rural development areas zoned for industrial use as of the effective date of the bill, as designated within the Pinelands Commission’s comprehensive management plan, to be included as areas eligible for qualifying business facility and developer project incentives under the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program. Both of these business incentive programs are administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
“The impact of recent casino closures continues to haunt Atlantic County’s hard-working middle-class families and businesses,” said Mazzeo. “Extending these incentives to companies who want to stay in New Jersey to grow and create new jobs will give a much needed boost to Western Atlantic County while at the same time having no negative effect on our beautiful Pinelands.”
Specifically, the bill would redefine the term “qualifying incentive area” under the GROW NJ and Economic Redevelopment Growth Grant. The new definition would be expanded to include a rural development area currently zoned for industrial use as designated by Pinelands Commission.
If enacted, the bill would help Comar, one of the largest manufacturing companies in Atlantic County, stay in New Jersey. According to a media report, Comar, which manufactures plastic bottles and other specialty packaging materials for medication, powders, supplements, has grown and needs to expand its existing facility in Buena Vista Township or it may be forced to leave New Jersey. Such an expansion would create about 150 new jobs and bring more tax revenue to the township.
“The potential loss of a company like Comar would be detrimental to Atlantic County and Buena Vista,” said Mazzeo. “Atlantic County cannot afford any more big hits. This would help retain a significant contributor to the local economy without disruption to our precious natural resources.”
The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.