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Move Would Consolidate Too Much Power, Open State Up to More Sprawl

(TRENTON) — Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) today questioned the wisdom of the Christie administration in moving to dismantle the state Office of Smart Growth in favor of the Office of Planning Advocacy which would be overseen by Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno.

“This is a continuation of a disturbing trend by the Christie administration to consolidate executive power in a select few individuals.

“If the Governor was truly interested in streamlining the development process, he would not task the responsibilities of such a critical office with someone who already has enough on her plate overseeing two other high profile offices. And if he was truly interested in encouraging growth and job creation, the Governor would not have vetoed the Homebuyers Tax Credit legislation, which would have done just that.

“For over two decades, the Office of Smart Growth has been integral in preventing sprawl from strangling our state and protecting key elements of our environment like the Highlands and the Pinelands. While it’s always good to encourage the input of stakeholders, this appears to be yet another attempt by the Christie administration to allow industry to write their own regulations,” said McKeon, Chair of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.