SENATE, No. 1

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

211th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 29, 2004

 

 

Sponsored by:

Senator BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator ROBERT J. MARTIN

District 26 (Morris and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Codey, Palaia, Vitale, Coniglio and Karcher

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

    The "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act."

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

    As introduced.

 

(Sponsorship Updated As Of: 4/30/2004)


An Act concerning the Highlands Region, creating a Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes, and amending and supplementing various sections of the statutory law.

 

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

    1. (New section) This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act."

 

    2. (New section) The Legislature finds and declares that the national Highlands Region is an area that extends from northwestern Connecticut across the lower Hudson River Valley and northern New Jersey into east central Pennsylvania; that the national Highlands region has been recognized as a landscape of special significance by the United States Forest Service; that the New Jersey portion of the national Highlands Region is nearly 800,000 acres, or about 1,250 miles, covering portions of 90 municipalities in seven counties; that the New Jersey Highlands Region is designated as a Special Resource Area in the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

    The Legislature further finds and declares that the New Jersey Highlands is an essential source of drinking water, providing clean and plentiful drinking water for one-half of the State's population, including communities beyond the New Jersey Highlands, from only 13 percent of the State's land area; that the New Jersey Highlands contains other exceptional natural resources such as clean air, contiguous forest lands, wetlands, pristine watersheds, and wildlife and plant species habitats, includes many sites of historic significance, and provides abundant recreational opportunities for the citizens of the State.

    The Legislature further finds and declares that the New Jersey Highlands provides a desirable quality of life and place where people live and work; that it is important to ensure the economic viability of communities throughout the New Jersey Highlands; that residential, commercial, and industrial development and redevelopment and economic growth in certain appropriate areas of the New Jersey Highlands is also in the best interests of all the citizens of the State, providing enumerable social, cultural, and economic benefits and opportunities.

    The Legislature further finds and declares that there are approximately 110,000 acres of agricultural lands in active production in the New Jersey Highlands; that these lands are important resources of the State that should be preserved; and that the agricultural industry in the region is a vital component of the economy and welfare of the State.

    The Legislature further finds and declares that, since 1984, 65,000 acres, or over 100 square miles, of the New Jersey Highlands have been lost to development; that sprawl and the pace of development in the region has dramatically increased, with the rate of loss of forested lands and wetlands more than doubling since 1995; that the New Jersey Highlands, because of its proximity to rapidly expanding suburban areas, is at serious risk of being fragmented and consumed by unplanned development; and that the existing land use and environmental regulation system cannot protect the water and natural resources of the New Jersey Highlands against the environmental impacts of sprawl development.

    The Legislature further finds and declares that the protection of the New Jersey Highlands, because of its vital link to the future of the State's drinking water supplies and other key natural resources, is an issue of State level importance that cannot be left to the uncoordinated land use decisions of 90 municipalities, seven counties, and a myriad of private landowners; that the State should take action to delineate within the New Jersey Highlands a preservation area of exceptional natural resource value that includes watershed protection and other environmentally sensitive lands where stringent protection policies would be implemented; that a regional approach to land use planning in the preservation area should be established to replace the existing uncoordinated system; that such a new regional approach to land use planning should be complemented by increased standards more protective of the environment established by the Department of Environmental Protection for development in the preservation area of the New Jersey Highlands; that the new regional planning approach and the more stringent environmental regulatory standards should be accompanied, as a matter of wise public policy and fairness to property owners, by a strong and significant commitment by the State to fund the acquisition of exceptional natural resource value lands; and that in the light of the various pressures now arrayed against the New Jersey Highlands, these new approaches should be implemented as soon as possible.

    The Legislature therefore determines, in the light of these findings set forth hereinabove, and with the intention of transforming them into action, that it is in the public interest of all the citizens of the State of New Jersey to enact legislation setting forth a comprehensive approach to the protection of the water and other natural resources of the New Jersey Highlands; that this comprehensive approach should consist of the identification of a preservation area of the New Jersey Highlands that would be subjected to stringent water and natural resource protection, planning, and regulation; that this comprehensive approach should also consist of the establishment of a Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council charged with the preparation of a regional master plan for the preservation area in the New Jersey Highlands as well as for the region in general; that this comprehensive approach should also include the adoption by the Department of Environmental Protection of stringent standards governing major development in the Highlands preservation area; that because of the imminent peril that the ongoing rush of development poses for the New Jersey Highlands, immediate, interim standards should be imposed on the date of enactment of this act on major development in the preservation area of the New Jersey Highlands, followed subsequently by adoption by the department of appropriate rules and regulations; that it is appropriate to encourage in certain areas of the New Jersey Highlands, consistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and smart growth strategies and principles, appropriate patterns of compatible residential, commercial, and industrial development, redevelopment, and economic growth, in or adjacent to areas already utilized for such purposes, and to discourage piecemeal, scattered, and inappropriate development, in order to accommodate local and regional growth and economic development in an orderly way while protecting the Highlands environment from the individual and cumulative adverse impacts thereof; that the maintenance of agricultural production and a positive agricultural business climate should be encouraged to the maximum extent possible wherever appropriate in the New Jersey Highlands; and that all such aforementioned measures should be guided, in heart, mind, and spirit, by an abiding and generously given commitment to protecting the incomparable water resources and natural beauty of the New Jersey Highlands so as to preserve them intact, in trust, forever for the pleasure, enjoyment, and use of future generations while also providing every conceivable opportunity for appropriate economic growth and development to advance the qualify of life of the residents of the region and the entire State.

 

    3. (New section) As used in this act:

    "Application for development" means the application form and all accompanying documents required for approval of a subdivision plat, site plan, planned development, conditional use, zoning variance, or direction of the issuance of a permit pursuant to the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.) or R.S.40:27-1 et seq., for any use, development or construction;

    "Council" means the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council established by section 4 of this act;

    "Department" means the Department of Environmental Protection;

    "Development regulation" means the same as that term is defined in section 3.1 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-4);

    "Disturbance" means the placement of impervious surface, the exposure or movement of soil or bedrock, or the clearing, cutting, or removing of vegetation;

    "Environmental land use or water permit" means a permit, approval, or other authorization issued by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to the "Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act," P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-1 et seq.), the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), "The Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (1954)," P.L.1954, c.199 (C.58:11-23 et seq.), the "Water Quality Planning Act," P.L.1977, c.75 (C.58:11A-1 et seq.), the "Safe Drinking Water Act," P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), or the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.); or an approval for an individual subsurface sewage disposal system from a delegated local health agency pursuant to the "County Environmental Health Act," P.L.1977, c.443 (C.26:3A2-21 et al.);

    "Highlands open waters" means all springs, streams, wetlands, and bodies of surface water, whether natural or artificial, located wholly or partially within the boundaries of the Highlands Region;

    "Highlands Region" means that region so designated by subsection a. of section 7 of this act;

    "Impervious surface" means any structure, surface, or improvement that reduces or prevents absorption of stormwater into land, and includes porous paving, paver blocks, gravel, crushed stone, decks, patios, elevated structures, and other similar structures, surfaces, or improvements;

    "Local government unit" means a municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the State, or any agency, board, commission, utilities authority or other authority, or other entity thereof;

    "Major development" means any non-residential development, whether or not it also qualifies as a development as defined in the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.); any residential development, whether or not it also qualifies as a development as defined in the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), that provides for the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land or an increase in impervious surface of one-quarter acre or more; or any residential development, whether or not it also qualifies as a development as defined in the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), that requires an environmental land use or water permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection but which does not result in the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one-quarter acre or more;

    "Planning area" means that portion of the Highlands Region not included within the preservation area;

    "Preservation area" means that portion of the Highlands Region so designated by subsection b. of section 7 of this act;

    "Recreation and conservation purposes" means the same as that term is defined in section 3 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-3);

    "Regional master plan" means the Highlands regional master plan or any revision thereof adopted by the council pursuant to section 8 of this act;

    "State entity" means any State department, agency, board, commission, or other entity, district water supply commission, independent State authority or commission, or bi-state entity;

    "State Development and Redevelopment Plan" means the State Development and Redevelopment Plan adopted pursuant to P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et al.); and

    "Waters of the Highlands" means all springs, streams, and bodies of surface or ground water, whether natural or artificial, located wholly or partially within the boundaries of the Highlands Region.

 

    4. (New section) There is hereby established a public body corporate and politic, with corporate succession, to be known as the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council." The council shall constitute a political subdivision of the State established as an instrumentality exercising public and essential governmental functions, and the exercise by the council of the powers and duties conferred by this act shall be deemed and held to be an essential governmental function of the State. For the purpose of complying with the provisions of Article V, Section IV, paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, the council is hereby allocated within the Department of Environmental Protection, but, notwithstanding that allocation, the council shall be independent of any supervision or control by the department or by the commissioner or any officer or employee thereof.

 

    5. (New section) a. The council shall consist of 15 voting members to be appointed and qualified as follows:

    (1) Eight residents of the counties of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, or Warren, appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, (a) of whom five shall be municipal officials holding elective office at the time of appointment and three shall be county officials holding elective office at the time of appointment, and (b) among whom shall be at least one resident from each of the counties of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren; and

    (2) Seven residents of the State, appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

    b. (1) Council members shall serve for terms of five years; provided, however, that of the members first appointed, five shall serve a term of three years, five shall serve a term of four years, and five shall serve a term of five years.

    (2) Each member shall serve for the term of the appointment and until a successor shall have been appointed and qualified. Any vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired term only.

    c. Any member of the council may be removed by the Governor, for cause, after a public hearing.

    d. Each member of the council, before entering upon the member's duties, shall take and subscribe an oath to perform the duties of the office faithfully, impartially, and justly to the best of the member's ability, in addition to any oath that may be required by R.S.41:1-1 et seq. A record of the oath shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State.

    e. The members of the council shall serve without compensation, but the council may, within the limits or funds appropriated or otherwise made available for such purposes, reimburse its members for necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their official duties.

    f. The powers of the council shall be vested in the members thereof in office. A majority of the total authorized membership of the council shall constitute a quorum except that no action may be taken by the council except upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the quorum. No alternate or designee of any council member shall exercise any power to vote on any matter pending before the council.

    g. The Governor shall designate one of the members of the council as chairperson. The council shall appoint an executive director, who shall be the chief administrative officer thereof. The executive director shall serve at the pleasure of the council, and shall be a person qualified by training and experience to perform the duties of the office.

    h. The members and staff of the council shall be subject to the "New Jersey Conflicts of Interest Law," P.L.1971, c.182 (C.52:13D-12 et seq.).

    i. The council shall be subject to the provisions of the "Open Public Meetings Act," P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-6 et seq.).

    j. A true copy of the minutes of every meeting of the council shall be prepared and forthwith delivered to the Governor. No action taken at a meeting by the council shall have force or effect until 10 days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, after a copy of the minutes shall have been so delivered; provided, however, that no action taken with respect to the adoption of the regional master plan, or any portion or revision thereof, shall have force or effect until 30 days, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, after a copy of the minutes shall have been so delivered. If, in the 10-day period, or 30-day period, as the case may be, the Governor returns the copy of the minutes with a veto of any action taken by the council at the meeting, the action shall be null and void and of no force and effect.

 

    6. (New section) The council shall have the following powers, duties, and responsibilities, in addition to those prescribed elsewhere in this act:

    a. To adopt and from time to time amend and repeal suitable bylaws for the management of its affairs;

    b. To adopt and use an official seal and alter it at the council's pleasure;

    c. To maintain an office at such place or places in the Highlands Region as it may designate;

    d. To sue and be sued in its own name;

    e. To appoint, retain and employ, without regard to the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes but within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available for those purposes, such officers, employees, agents, and experts as it may require, and to determine the qualifications, terms of office, duties, services, and compensation therefor;

    f. To apply for, receive, and accept, from any federal, State, or other public or private source, grants or loans for, or in aid of, the council's authorized purposes, or the in the carrying out of the council's powers, duties, and responsibilities;

    g. To enter into any and all agreements or contracts, execute any and all instruments, and do and perform any and all acts or things necessary, convenient, or desirable for the purposes of the council or to carry out any power, duty, or responsibility expressly given in this act;

    h. To call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of such employees of any State entity or local government unit as may be required and made available for such purposes;

    i. To adopt a regional master plan for the Highlands Region as provided pursuant to section 8 of this act;

    j. To appoint advisory boards, commissions, councils, or panels to assist in its activities, including but not limited to a municipal advisory council consisting of mayors, municipal council members, or other representatives of municipalities located in the Highlands Region;

    k. To authorize, if deemed useful, the establishment by appropriate persons or organizations of a nonprofit organization or organizations exempt from taxation pursuant to section 501 (c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C.s.501 (c)(3), for the purposes of assisting the council in furthering the purposes of this act and the regional master plan;

    l. To solicit and consider public input and comment on the council's activities, the regional master plan, and other issues and matters of importance in the Highlands Region by periodically holding public hearings or conferences and providing other opportunities for such input and comment by interested parties;

    m. To conduct examinations and investigations, to hear testimony, taken under oath at public or private hearings, on any material matter, and to require attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers;

    n. To prepare and transmit to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection such recommendations for water quality and water supply standards for surface and ground waters in the Highlands Region, or in tributaries and watersheds thereof, and for other environmental protection standards pertaining to the lands and natural resources of the Highlands Region, as the council deems appropriate;

    o. To identify and designate in the regional master plan special areas in the preservation area within which development shall not occur in order to protect water resources and environmentally sensitive lands while recognizing the need to provide just compensation to the owners of those lands when appropriate, whether through acquisition, transfer of development rights programs, or other means or strategies;

    p. To identify any lands in which the public acquisition of a fee simple or lesser interest therein is necessary or desirable in order to ensure the preservation thereof, or to provide sites for public recreation, as well as any lands the beneficial use of which are so adversely affected by the restrictions imposed pursuant to this act as to require a guarantee of just compensation therefor, and to transmit a list of those lands to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, affected local government units, and appropriate federal agencies;

    q. To develop model land use ordinances and other development regulations, for consideration and possible adoption by municipalities in the planning area, that would help protect the environment, including, but not limited to, ordinances and other development regulations pertaining to steep slopes, forest cover, wellhead and water supply protection, impervious surface, and clustering; and to provide guidance and technical assistance in connection therewith to those municipalities;

    r. To identify and designate, and accept petitions from municipalities to designate, special critical environmental areas in high resource value lands in the planning area, and develop voluntary standards and guidelines for protection of such special areas for possible implementation by those municipalities;

    s. To comment upon any application for development before a local government unit, on the adoption of any master plan, development regulation, or other regulation by a local government unit, or on the enforcement by a local government unit of any development regulation or other regulation, which power shall be in addition to any other review, oversight, or intervention powers of the council prescribed by this act;

    t. To work with interested municipalities to enter into agreements to establish, where appropriate, capacity-based development densities, including, but not limited to, appropriate higher densities to support transit villages or in centers designated by the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and endorsed by the State Planning Commission;

    u. To establish and charge, in accordance with a fee schedule to be set forth by rule or regulation adopted pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), reasonable fees for services performed relating to the review of applications for development and other applications filed with or otherwise brought before the council, or for other services, as may be required by this act or the regional master plan; and

    v. To prepare, adopt, amend, or repeal, pursuant to the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), such rules and regulations as may be necessary in order to exercise its powers and perform its duties and responsibilities under the provisions of this act.

 

    7. (New section) a. The Highlands Region shall consist of all that area within the boundaries of the following municipalities:

    (1) in Bergen County: Mahwah, and Oakland;

    (2) in Hunterdon County: Alexandria, Bethlehem, Bloomsbury, Califon, Clinton Town, Clinton Township, Glen Gardner, Hampton, High Bridge, Holland, Lebanon Boro, Lebanon Township, Milford, Tewksbury, and Union;

    (3) in Morris County: Boonton Town, Boonton Township, Butler, Chester Boro, Chester Township, Denville, Dover, Hanover, Harding, Jefferson, Kinnelon, Mendham Boro, Mendham Township, Mine Hill, Montville, Morris Plains, Morris Township, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mount Olive, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Pequannock, Randolph, Riverdale, Rockaway Boro, Rockaway Township, Roxbury, Victory Gardens, Washington, and Wharton;

    (4) in Passaic County: Bloomingdale, Pompton Lakes, Ringwood, Wanaque, and West Milford;

    (5) in Somerset County: Bernards, Bernardsville, Far Hills, and Peapack-Gladstone;

    (6) in Sussex County: Andover Boro, Andover Township, Byram, Franklin, Green, Hamburg, Hardyston, Hopatcong, Lafayette, Ogdensburg, Sparta, Stanhope, and Vernon; and

    (7) in Warren County: Allamuchy, Alpha, Belvidere, Franklin, Frelinghuysen, Greenwich, Hackettstown, Harmony, Hope, Independence, Liberty, Lopatcong, Mansfield, Oxford, Phillipsburg, Pohatcong, Washington Boro, Washington Township, and White.

    b. The preservation area shall consist of that area described by the Highlands Task Force, established by Executive Order No. 70 of 2003, and based upon natural resource data assembled by the United States Forest Service, Rutgers, The State University, and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority, which is to be translated, allowing for reasonable variations, by the Highlands Task Force with the assistance of Rutgers, The State University, the Department of Environmental Protection, and other appropriate entities, to appropriate and nearest practicable, on-the-ground, and easily identified reference points, such as, but not limited to, road descriptions, survey lines, and municipal boundaries, by May 1, 2004 or as soon thereafter as may be possible. This narrative description of the preservation area shall be enacted into law.

    c. The planning area shall consist of all that area of the Highlands Region not within the preservation area.

 

    8. (New section) The council shall, within 18 months after the date of its first meeting, and after holding at least five public hearings in various locations in the Highlands Region and at least one public hearing in Trenton, prepare and adopt a regional master plan for the Highlands Region. The Highlands regional master plan shall be periodically revised and updated at least once every five years, after public hearings.

 

    9. (New section) a. During the preparation of the regional master plan or any revision thereof, the council shall consult with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Community Affairs, the State Planning Commission, the Department of Agriculture, the State Agriculture and Development Committee, and appropriate officials of local governments and State, regional, and federal agencies with jurisdiction over lands, waters, and natural resources within the Highlands Region, with interested professional, scientific, and citizen organizations, and with any advisory groups that may be established by the council. The council shall review all relevant federal, State, and private studies of the Highlands Region, the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, municipal, county, and regional plans, applicable federal and State laws and rules and regulations, and other pertinent information on the Highlands Region.

    b. Prior to adoption of, and in preparing, the regional master plan, the council may, in conjunction with municipalities in the preservation area, identify areas in which redevelopment shall be encouraged in order to promote the economic well-being of the municipality, provided that the redevelopment conforms to the goals of the preservation area and this act and with the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act.

    c. Upon adoption of the regional master plan or any revision thereof, copies thereof shall be transmitted to the Governor and to the Legislature.

 

    10. (New section) a. The goal of the regional master plan with respect to the entire Highlands Region shall be to protect and enhance the significant values of the resources thereof in a manner which is consistent with the purposes and provisions of this act.

    b. The goals of the regional master plan with respect to the preservation area shall be to:

    (1) protect, restore, and enhance the quality and quantity of surface and ground waters therein;

    (2) preserve extensive and, to the maximum extent possible, contiguous areas of land in its natural state, thereby ensuring the continuation of a Highlands environment which contains the unique and significant natural, scenic, and other resources representative of the Highlands Region;

    (3) protect the natural, scenic, and other resources of the Highlands Region, including but not limited to contiguous forests, wetlands, vegetated stream corridors, steep slopes, and critical habitat for fauna and flora;

    (4) preserve farmland and historic sites and other historic resources;

    (5) promote compatible agricultural, horticultural, recreational, and cultural uses and opportunities within the framework of protecting the Highlands environment; and

    (6) prohibit or limit to the maximum extent possible construction or development which is incompatible with preservation of this unique area.

    c. The goals of the regional master plan with respect to the planning area shall be to:

    (1) protect, restore, and enhance the quality and quantity of surface and ground waters therein;

    (2) preserve to the maximum extent possible any environmentally sensitive lands and other lands needed for recreation and conservation purposes;

    (3) protect and maintain the essential character of the Highlands environment;

    (4) preserve farmland and historic sites and other historic resources;

    (5) promote the continuation and expansion of agricultural, horticultural, recreational, and cultural uses and opportunities; and

    (6) encourage, consistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and smart growth strategies and principles, appropriate patterns of compatible residential, commercial, and industrial development, redevelopment, and economic growth, in or adjacent to areas already utilized for such purposes, and discourage piecemeal, scattered, and inappropriate development, in order to accommodate local and regional growth and economic development in an orderly way while protecting the Highlands environment from the individual and cumulative adverse impacts thereof.

 

    11. (New section) The regional master plan shall include, but need not necessarily be limited to:

    a. A resource assessment which:

    (1) determines the amount and type of human development and activity which the ecosystem of the Highlands Region can sustain while still maintaining the overall ecological values thereof, with special reference to surface and ground water quality and supply; endangered and threatened animals, plants, and biotic communities; ecological factors relating to the protection and enhancement of agricultural production or activity; air quality; and other appropriate considerations affecting the ecological integrity of the Highlands Region;

    (2) includes an assessment of scenic, aesthetic, cultural, historic, open space, farm land, and outdoor recreation resources of the region, together with a determination of overall policies required to maintain and enhance such resources; and

    (3) includes an assessment of opportunities for appropriate economic growth, development, and redevelopment which shall include consideration of public investment priorities, infrastructure investments, economic development, revitalization, housing, transportation, energy resources, waste management, recycling, brownfields, and design such as mixed-use, compact design, and transit villages.

    b. A financial component, together with a cash flow timetable which:

    (1) details the cost of implementing the regional master plan, including, but not limited to, payments in lieu-of-taxes, acquisition, within five years and within 10 years after the date of enactment of this act, of fee simple or other interests in lands for preservation or recreation and conservation purposes, compensation guarantees, general administrative costs, and any anticipated extraordinary or continuing costs; and

    (2) details the sources of revenue for covering such costs, including, but not limited to, grants, donations, and loans from local, State, and federal departments and agencies, and from the private sector.

    c. A component to provide for the maximum feasible local government and public input into the council's operations, which shall include a framework for developing policies for the planning area in conjunction with those local government units with jurisdiction over those lands who choose to conform to the regional master plan.

    d. A coordination and consistency component which details the ways in which local, State, and federal programs and policies may best be coordinated to promote the goals, purposes, policies, and provisions of the regional master plan, and which details how land, water, and structures managed by governmental or nongovernmental entities in the public interest within the Highlands Region may be integrated into the regional master plan.

 

    12. (New section) In addition to the contents of the regional master plan described in section 11 of this act, the plan shall also include, with respect to the preservation area, a land use capability map and a comprehensive statement of policies for planning and managing the development and use of land in the preservation area, which shall be based upon, comply with, and implement the environmental standards set forth in section 31 of this act and as adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to sections 32 through 33 of this act.

    These policies shall include provision for implementing the regional master plan by the State and local government units in the preservation area in a manner that will ensure the continued, uniform, and consistent protection of the Highlands Region in accordance with the goals, purposes, policies, and provisions of this act, and shall include:

    a. a preservation zone element that identifies zones within the preservation area where development shall not occur in order to protect water resources and environmentally sensitive lands that shall be permanently preserved through a variety of tools, including acquisition and transfer of development rights; and

    b. minimum standards governing municipal and county master planning, development regulations, and other regulations concerning the development and use of land in the preservation area, including, but not limited to, standards for minimum lot sizes and stream setbacks, construction on steep slopes, maximum appropriate population densities, and regulated or prohibited uses for specific portions of the preservation area.

 

    13. (New section) a. The council shall develop and implement a transfer of development rights program for the Highlands Region consistent with any transfer of development rights program created otherwise by law.

    b. (1) The council may use the State Transfer of Development Rights Bank established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1993, c.339 (C.4:1C-51) for the purposes of facilitating the transfer of development potential in accordance with subsection a. of this section and the regional master plan. The council may also establish a development transfer bank for such purposes.

    (2) At the request of the council, the Department of Banking and Insurance, the State Transfer of Developments Right Bank, the State Agriculture Development Committee, and the Pinelands Development Credit Bank shall provide technical assistance to the council in establishing and operating a development transfer bank as authorized pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.

    (c) The bank shall operate in accordance with provisions of general law authorizing the creation of development transfer banks by municipalities and counties.

 

    14. (New section) a. Within six months after the date of adoption of the regional master plan or any revision thereof, each municipality located wholly or partially in the preservation area shall submit to the council such revisions of the municipal master plan and development regulations, as applicable to the development and use of land in the preservation area, as may be necessary in order to conform them with the goals, requirements, and provisions of the regional master plan. After receiving and reviewing the revisions, the council shall approve, reject, or approve with conditions the revised plan and development regulations, as it deems appropriate, after public hearing, within 60 days after the date of submission thereof.

    Upon rejecting or conditionally approving any such revised plan or development regulations, the council shall identify such changes therein that it deems necessary for council approval thereof, and the relevant municipality shall adopt and enforce the plan or development regulations as so changed.

    b. Within six months after the date of adoption of the regional master plan or any revision thereof, each county located wholly or partially in the preservation area shall submit to the council such revisions of the county master plan and associated regulations, as applicable to the development and use of land in the preservation area, as may be necessary in order to conform them with the goals, requirements, and provisions of the regional master plan. After receiving and reviewing the revisions, the council shall approve, reject, or approve with conditions those revised plans and associated regulations, as it deems appropriate, after public hearing, within 60 days after the date of submission thereof.

    Upon rejecting or conditionally approving any such revised plan or associated regulations, the council shall identify such changes therein that it deems necessary for council approval thereof, and the relevant county shall adopt and enforce the plan or associated regulations as so changed.

    c. Any approval of an application for development, or use of land, in the preservation area granted by any local government unit in violation of the regional master plan or an approved revised municipal or county master plan, development regulations, or other regulations pursuant to this act shall be null and void and of no force and effect at law or equity.

    d. In the event that any municipality or county fails to adopt or enforce an approved revised master plan, development regulations, or other regulations, as the case may be, including any condition thereto imposed by the council, as required pursuant to subsections a. or b. of this section, the council shall adopt and enforce such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement the minimum standards contained in the regional master plan as applicable to any municipality or county within the preservation area. If any municipality or county fails to adopt or enforce an approved revised master plan, development regulations, or other regulations, as the case may be, including any condition thereto imposed by the council, as required pursuant to subsections a. or b. of this section, the council shall have all local enforcement authority provided pursuant to the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.) and R.S.40:27-1 et seq., as well as the authority to issue stop construction orders, as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act, any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and the requirements and provisions of the regional master plan.

    e. A municipality or county may adopt revisions to its master plan, development regulations, or other regulations for the purposes of this section that are stricter than the minimum necessary to obtain approval of conformance with the regional master plan.

 

    15. (New section) a. For any municipality located wholly in the planning area or for any portion of a municipality lying within the planning area, the municipality may, by ordinance, petition the council of its intention to revise its master plan and development regulations, as applicable to the development and use of land in the planning area, to conform with the goals, requirements, and provisions of the regional master plan.

    The municipality shall proceed in revising its master plan and development regulations in accordance with the framework adopted by the council pursuant to subsection a. of section 14 of this act.

    After receiving and reviewing those revisions, the council shall approve, reject, or approve with conditions the revised plan and development regulations, as it deems appropriate, after public hearing, within 60 days after the date of submission thereof.

    b. Upon rejecting or conditionally approving any such revised plan or development regulations, the council shall identify such changes therein that it deems necessary for council approval thereof, and the municipality may adopt and enforce the plan or development regulations as so changed in order for them to be deemed approved in conformance with the regional master plan.

    c. Any municipality approved by the council to be in conformance with the regional master plan pursuant to this section shall be entitled to any financial or other assistance or incentives received by a municipality from the State as a benefit or result of obtaining council approval pursuant to section 14 of this act.

    d. Upon the commencement of each reexamination by the municipality of its master plan and development regulations as required pursuant to section 76 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-89), the municipality shall so notify the council and, thereafter, submit to the council the draft revision of its master plan and development regulations for review, by the council, of conformance with the regional master plan.

    If, after conducting the reexamination, the municipality does not resubmit to the council its master plan and development regulations as they pertain to the planning area and obtain reapproval thereof from the council in accordance with this section, or if the council finds the reexamined master plan not to be in conformance with the regional master plan, the council may require the municipality to reimburse the council or the State, as appropriate, in whole or in part for any financial or other assistance or incentives received by the municipality from the State as a benefit or result of obtaining council approval pursuant to this section.

    e. A municipality may adopt revisions to its master plan or development regulations for the purposes of this section that are stricter than the minimum necessary to obtain approval of conformance with the regional master plan.

    f. Each county with lands in the planning area may, by ordinance or resolution, as appropriate, petition the council of its intention to revise its master plan and associated regulations, as applicable to the development and use of land in the planning area, to conform with the goals, requirements, and provisions of the regional master plan.

    The county shall proceed in revising its master plan and associated regulations in accordance with the framework adopted by the council pursuant to subsection b. of section 14 of this act.

    After receiving and reviewing those revisions, the council shall approve, reject, or approve with conditions the revised plan and associated regulations, as it deems appropriate, after public hearing, within 60 days after the date of submission thereof.

    g. Upon rejecting or conditionally approving any such revised plan or associated regulations, the council shall identify such changes therein that it deems necessary for council approval thereof, and the county may adopt and enforce the plan or associated regulations as so changed in order for them to be deemed approved in conformance with the regional master plan.

    h. Any county approved by the council to be in conformance with the regional master plan pursuant to this section shall be entitled to any financial or other assistance or incentives received by a county from the State as a benefit or result of obtaining council approval pursuant to section 14 of this act.

 

    16. (New section) a. For the purposes of subsection a. of section 37 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-49), any amendments made to a major subdivision or a site plan ordinance pursuant to this act to conform it to the regional master plan shall be construed to relate to public health and safety for any major development that has received preliminary approval prior to the amendment of a major subdivision or site plan ordinance pursuant to this act. An amendment made to a major subdivision or site plan ordinance pursuant to this act shall not be construed to relate to public health and safety if the major development is a residential development that requires an environmental land use or water permit but which does not result in the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one-quarter acre or more.

    b. (1) Any final approval of a major development which is outstanding upon the adoption by a municipality of amendments to its development regulations pursuant to this act to conform those development regulations to the regional master plan, shall be reviewed by the municipality for consistency with the regional master plan. In the event that the final approval is not consistent with the regional master plan, any rights otherwise conferred by the final approval shall expire. The provisions of this subsection shall apply whether the final approval involves a site plan, major subdivision, or general development plan pursuant to P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).                This paragraph shall not apply to any major development which is a residential development that requires an environmental land use or water permit but which does not result in the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one-quarter acre or more.

    (2) Notwithstanding any provision of paragraph (1) of this subsection to the contrary, any major development for which, at the time of the adoption of amendments to the municipal development regulations pursuant to this act to conform them to the regional master plan, a construction permit has been issued, may proceed in accordance with the terms of the relevant approvals.

 

    17. (New section) a. The council may prepare and distribute suggested guidelines for the location and construction of capital projects by State entities or local government units within the Highlands Region.

    b. Within the preservation area, any capital or other project of a State entity or local government unit that involves the ultimate disturbance of two acres or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one acre or more shall be submitted to the council for review. The council shall establish procedures for conducting such reviews and shall have the power to approve, approve with conditions, or disapprove the project. No such project shall proceed without the approval of the council; provided that, in the case of a project of a State entity, if the council disapproves the project, the head of the appropriate principal department of State government with primary responsibility for the project may override the council's disapproval upon making a written finding, which shall be submitted to the council and the Governor, that the project is necessary for public health, safety, or welfare and including with that finding a factual basis and explanation in support thereof. In the case of a project of an independent State authority or commission or a bi-state entity, any such finding shall be made by the Governor or such other State governmental official as the Governor may designate for that purpose.

    c. Within the planning area, any capital or other project of a State entity or local government unit that provides for the ultimate disturbance of two acres or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one acre or more shall be submitted to the council for a nonbinding review and comment. The council shall establish procedures for conducting such reviews. The failure of the council to act expeditiously on any such review pursuant to this subsection shall not be cause for delay of the project, and the project may proceed whether or not the council has conducted the review.

 

    18. (New section) a. Subsequent to adoption of the regional master plan, the council may review, within 15 days after any final local government unit approval thereof, any application for development in the preservation area. Upon determining to exercise that authority, the council shall transmit, by certified mail, written notice thereof to the person who submitted the application. The council shall, after public hearing thereon, approve, reject, or approve with conditions any such application within 60 days after transmitting the notice; provided, however, that an application shall not be rejected or conditionally approved unless the council determines that the development does not conform with the regional master plan, as applicable to the local government unit wherein the development is located, or that the development could result in substantial impairment of the resources of the Highlands Region. Such approval, rejection, or conditional approval shall be binding upon the person who submitted the application, shall supersede any local government unit approval of any such development, and shall be subject only to judicial review as provided in section 29 of this act.

    b. Every person submitting an application for development in the preservation area shall be required to provide a notice of the application to the council in accordance with such procedures therefor as shall be established by the council.

    c. Notwithstanding any provision of subsections a. or b. of this section to the contrary, for any municipality or county that has adopted an approved revised master plan, development regulations, or other regulations, as the case may be, including any condition thereto imposed by the council, the requirements of this section shall apply only to applications for development that provide for the ultimate disturbance of two acres or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one acre or more. The council may provide, pursuant to subsection d. of section 14 of this act, that the requirements of this section apply to any application for development within the preservation area in any municipality or county that fails to adopt or enforce an approved revised master plan, development regulations, or other regulations, as the case may be, including any condition thereto imposed by the council.

    d. Any member of the public may request the council to consider reviewing an application for development in the preservation area as provided in this section.

 

    19. (New section) a. Any municipality in the Highlands Region whose municipal master plan and development regulations, and any county in the Highlands Region whose county master plan and associated regulations, have been approved by the council to be in conformance with the regional master plan in accordance with sections 14 or 15 of this act shall qualify for State aid, planning assistance, technical assistance, and other benefits and incentives that may be awarded or provided by the State to municipalities and counties which have received plan endorsement pursuant to the "State Planning Act," P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et al.) or which otherwise practice or implement smart growth strategies and principles. Any such municipality or county shall also qualify for any State aid that may be provided for smart growth projects.

    b. The council may make available grants and other financial and technical assistance to municipalities and counties for any revision of their master plans, development regulations, or other regulations which is designed to bring those plans, development regulations, or other regulations into conformance with the regional master plan or for implementation of a transfer of development rights program pursuant to this act. The council may make the grants and other financial assistance from any State, federal, or other funds that may be appropriated or otherwise made available to it for that purpose.

 

    20. (New section) a. Every municipality located wholly or partially in the preservation area shall be entitled to State aid to compensate for any decrease in the aggregate amount of property tax revenues derived from the taxation of real property in that portion of the municipality located in the preservation area that is directly attributable to the implementation of this act. The council shall establish methods and procedures for calculating the aggregate true value of the real property and the aggregate amount of property tax revenues derived therefrom in each municipality in the preservation area in the year prior to the enactment of this act, and for calculating, for each year after the enactment of this act, any decrease in the aggregate true value of the real property, and in the aggregate amount of property tax revenues derived therefrom, that is directly attributable to the implementation of this act. The council shall annually calculate the amount to which each municipality is entitled pursuant to this section, and shall certify and transmit such amounts to the State Treasurer and to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs.

    b. Commencing July 1 next following two years after the date of enactment of this act, or at such other date as may be established by the council, no municipality shall receive any State aid made available pursuant to this section unless the municipality's master plan and development regulations, as applicable to the preservation area, have been approved by the council to be in conformance with the regional master plan pursuant to section 14 of this act.

    c. The State Treasurer shall include in the State Treasurer's annual budget request for State aid the amounts certified by the council pursuant to subsection a of this section. The State Treasurer shall pay, from monies appropriated for the purposes of this section, to each municipality the amount of State aid appropriated therefor in a manner and pursuant to a schedule set forth in the rules and regulations adopted pursuant subsection d. of this section.

    d. The State Treasurer and the Director of the Division of Local Government Services, in consultation with the council, shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), any rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

    e. This section shall expire July 1 next following five years after the date of enactment of this act.

 

    21. (New section) The Attorney General shall provide legal representation to any requesting local government unit located in the Highlands Region in any cause of action filed against the local government unit and contesting an act or decision of the local government unit taken or made under authority granted pursuant to the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), R.S.40:27-1 et seq., the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), or this act, provided that:

    a. the municipal master plan and development regulations, or, in the case of a county governmental entity, the county master plan and associated regulations, have been approved by the council to be in conformance with the regional master plan in accordance with sections 14 or 15 of this act; and

    b. the council has certified in writing to the Attorney General that the act or decision of the local government unit which is the subject of the cause of action is consistent with the regional master plan.

 

    22. (New section) Within 10 days after the date of enactment of this act, the Department of Community Affairs, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall provide guidelines and instructions to all local government units located wholly or partially within the preservation area with respect to the processing, review, and enforcement of applications for development after the date of enactment of this act and before adoption of the regional master plan.

 

    23. (New section) The municipal master plan and development regulations of any municipality, and the county master plan and associated regulations of any county, located in the Highlands Region which have been approved by the council to be in conformance with the regional master plan in accordance with sections 14 or 15 of this act shall be entitled to a strong presumption of validity. In any cause of action filed against such a local government unit and contesting an act or decision of the local government unit taken or made under authority granted pursuant to the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), R.S.40:27-1 et seq., the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), or this act, the court shall give extraordinary deference to the local government unit, provided that the municipal master plan and development regulations, or, in the case of a county governmental entity, the county master plan and associated regulations, have been approved by the council to be in conformance with the regional master plan in accordance with sections 14 or 15 of this act. The plaintiff shall have the burden of proof to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the act or decision of any such local government unit was arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable or in patent abuse of discretion.

 

    24. (New section) a. The Council on Affordable Housing shall take into consideration the regional master plan prior to making any determination regarding the prospective fair share of the housing need in any municipality in the Highlands Region under the "Fair Housing Act," P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-301 et al.).

    b. Upon adoption by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council of the regional master plan, any municipality located wholly or partially in the preservation area, and any municipality in the Highlands planning area that is approved by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council to be in conformance with the regional master plan pursuant to section 15 of this act, may petition the Council on Affordable Housing to have its 1987 to 1999 fair share obligation adjusted in accordance with any applicable rules and regulations to reflect the change in circumstances in the municipality resulting from conformance with the regional master plan. In the event that the municipality has received substantive certification or is subject to a judgment of repose, that protection shall not be affected or compromised by the adjustment.

    c. Any municipality requesting an adjustment pursuant to subsection b. of this section shall be eligible to apply for planning assistance grants from the State for the purposes of that subsection.

 

    25. (New section) Within 90 days after the first meeting of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, the Site Improvement Advisory Board established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1993, c.32 (C.40:55D-40.3) and the Commissioner of Community Affairs shall consult with the council and the Commissioner of Environmental Protection concerning whether the site improvement standards for residential development adopted pursuant to P.L.1993, c.32 (C.40:55D-40.1 et seq.) are appropriate and sufficiently protective for the Highlands Region, especially for the preservation area; and if it is determined they are not, those standards shall be modified accordingly as soon as practicable to meet that objective.

 

    26. a. Effective on the date of enactment of this act, any person who is selling any land, or any interest therein or option therefor, within the preservation area shall give to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection written notice, by certified mail, that a contract of sale has been executed for the property. The notice shall set forth the terms and conditions of the executed contract of sale and shall have attached a copy of that contract. The notice of executed contract of sale shall also include any other information that the commissioner may reasonably require by rule or regulation. The State shall have the right of first refusal to purchase the land upon substantially similar terms and conditions, which right shall be exercisable as provided by this section. The State may exercise its right of first refusal only if the land, or the interest therein or option therefor, is to be used for water supply protection purposes or recreation and conservation purposes, or farmland preservation purposes. If the State chooses to exercise its right of first refusal, the State shall give notice of that intent to the landowner within a period of 30 days following the date of receipt of the notice of executed contract of sale. The State shall submit its offer to match the terms and conditions of the executed contract of sale to the landowner within the 60 days following the expiration of the 30-day period. If no notice is given within the 30-day period that the State intends to exercise its right of first refusal, or if no offer is submitted to the landowner within the 60-day period following the 30-day period, the owner may at the expiration of the 30-day period or the 60-day period, as the case may be, convey the land to the proposed purchaser named in the executed contract of sale upon the terms and conditions specified therein, or to the proposed purchaser's assignee as provided in that executed contract of sale. If the owner fails to convey the land to the named proposed purchaser or an assignee thereof pursuant to the executed contract of sale, the land shall again become subject to the State's right of first refusal as provided by this section. A landowner may elect to convey the land to the State upon the exercise of the State's right of first refusal without breaching the original contract of sale, notwithstanding that the State's offer is different than, or provides for lower consideration than, that in the original executed contract of sale.

    b. The requirements of this section shall not apply to any sale or other conveyance of land between immediate family members, to any sale of a structure that is located on a lot of less than 10 acres, or to any land that is subject to the State Agriculture Development Committee's first right and option to purchase as provided pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1989, c.28 (C.4:1C-39).

    c. The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall, within 60 days after the date of enactment of this act, transmit, by certified mail, written notice of the provisions of this section to the governing body of every municipality and county located in whole or in part in the preservation area, and publish a notice in the New Jersey Register and in at least two newspapers circulating within the preservation area.

    d. Any contract made in violation of subsection a. of this section is voidable.

    e. Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to limit any authority granted to the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, or any other State entity, or a local government unit, pursuant to law, to acquire any lands, or interests therein or options therefor, in such manner as may be provided in any such law.

    f. For the purposes of this section, "immediate family member" means spouse, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister, whether the individual is related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

 

    27. (New section) No local government unit, public utility, or State entity shall sell or otherwise convey any land or interest therein it owns that is located in the Highlands Region and is utilized for the purpose of protecting a public water supply, as defined and determined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection; except that this section:

    a. shall not apply to the sale or conveyance of such lands to another local government unit, public utility, or State entity for the purpose of protecting a public water supply, or the sale or conveyance of such lands for permanent preservation and use for recreation and conservation purposes, provided that in either case the sale or conveyance is approved by the commissioner; or

    b. shall not prevent the lease or other conveyance of such lands as authorized pursuant to P.L.2002, c.47 (C.40A:12-17.1 et al.), provided that the lands so leased or otherwise conveyed shall continue to be subject to the prohibition prescribed by this section and the requirements and provisions of that act.

 

    28. (New section) The council may institute an action or proceeding in Superior Court for injunctive relief for any violation of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, or, in the preservation area for any violation of, or nonconformance with, the regional master plan, and the court may proceed in the action in a summary manner. In any proceeding brought pursuant to this section, the court may also grant temporary or interlocutory relief.

 

    29. (New section) Any decision rendered or action taken by the council pursuant to this act shall be a final agency action subject to judicial review in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey in accordance with the Rules of Court. The court may grant such relief as it deems just and proper, and to make and enter an order enforcing, modifying, and enforcing as so modified, remanding for further specific evidence or findings, or setting aside in whole or in part, the decision of the council. The findings of fact upon which the council's decision is based shall be conclusive if supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole.

 

    30. (New section) On or before March 31 in each year the council shall make an annual report of its activities for the preceding calendar year to the Governor and the Legislature. Each such report shall set forth a complete operating and financial statement covering its operations during the year.

 

    31. (New section) a. Commencing on the date of enactment of this act and until the effective date of the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act, all major development in the preservation area shall require a Highlands Preservation Area approval from the department. The Highlands Preservation Area approval shall consist of the related aspects of other regulatory programs which may include, but need not be limited to, the "Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act," P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-1 et seq.), "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act," P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.), the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), "The Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (1954)," P.L.1954, c.199 (C.58:11-23 et seq.), the "Water Quality Planning Act," P.L.1977, c.75 (C.58:11A-1 et seq.), the "Safe Drinking Water Act," P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.), and any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. For the purposes of this section, the provisions of P.L.1975, c. 232 (C.13:1D-29 et seq.) shall not apply to an application for a permit pursuant to the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.).

    b. The Highlands Preservation Area approval shall also require:

    (1) a prohibition on major development within 300 feet of any Highlands open waters, and a 300-foot buffer adjacent to all Highlands open waters. For the purposes of this paragraph, major development does not include linear development for infrastructure, utilities, and the rights-of-way therefor, provided that there is no other feasible alternative for the linear development outside of the buffer. Structures or land uses in the buffer existing on the date of enactment of this act may remain, provided that the area of disturbance shall not be increased. This paragraph shall not be construed to limit the authority of the department to establish buffers of any size or any other protections for category one waters designated by the department pursuant to the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), or any other law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, for major development or for other development that does not qualify as major development;

    (2) the quality of all Highlands open waters and the waters of the Highlands within the preservation area to be maintained, restored, or enhanced, and any new or expanded point source discharge, except discharges from water supply facilities, shall not degrade existing water quality. In the case of water supply facilities, all reasonable measures shall be taken to eliminate or minimize water quality impacts;

    (3) notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of section 5 of P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-5), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, any diversion of more than 50,000 gallons per day, and multiple diversions by the same or related entities for the same or related projects or developments of more than 50,000 gallons per day, of waters of the Highlands shall require a permit pursuant to the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), and any permit issued pursuant thereto shall be based on consideration of individual and cumulative impacts of multiple diversions, maintenance of stream base flows, minimization of depletive use, maintenance of existing water quality, and protection of ecological uses;

    (4) a zero net fill requirement for flood hazard areas pursuant to the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.);

    (5) the antidegradation provisions of the surface water quality standards and the stormwater regulations applicable to category one waters to be applied to Highlands open waters;

    (6) a prohibition on impervious surfaces of greater than three percent of the land area of a lot existing on the date of enactment of this act, except that Highlands open waters shall not be included in the calculation of that land area;

    (7) a prohibition on development, except linear development for infrastructure, utilities, and the rights-of-way therefor, provided that no other feasible alternative exists for the linear development, on steep slopes with a grade of 20% or greater; and

    (8) a prohibition on development that disturbs upland forested areas, in order to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation, protect water quality, prevent stormwater runoff, and protect threatened and endangered animal and plant species sites and designated habitats. Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph to the contrary, if a major development complies with all other applicable requirements for a Highlands Preservation Area review pursuant to this subsection and disturbance to an upland forested area is unavoidable, the department shall allow the disturbance to an upland forested area of no more than 20 feet directly adjacent to a structure and of no more than 10 feet on each side of a driveway as necessary to access a non-forested area of a site.

    c. The Highlands Preservation Area approval required pursuant to this section shall include a limited review by the department of an application for a Highlands Preservation Area approval to a review for the purpose of locating a single family dwelling on the property based upon the least environmental impact to the natural resources located on the property when the application is for the construction of a single family dwelling on property owned by the individual on the date of enactment of this act, but only if the construction requires an environmental land use or water permit and does not result in the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one-quarter acre or more. This limited review shall not be construed to authorize the waiver of any other provision of law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto.

 

    32. (New section) a. Within 270 days after the date of enactment of this act, and notwithstanding the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to the contrary, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, after consultation with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Community Affairs, and the State Planning Commission, shall, immediately upon filing proper notice with the Office of Administrative Law, adopt the rules and regulations prepared by the department pursuant to section 33 of this act and any other rules and regulations necessary to establish the Highlands permitting review program established pursuant to section 34 of this act.

    b. The rules and regulations adopted pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall be in effect for a period not to exceed one year after the date of the filing. These rules and regulations shall thereafter be adopted, amended, or readopted by the commissioner in accordance with the requirements of the "Administrative Procedure Act," after consultation with the council, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Community Affairs, and the State Planning Commission.

    c. The rules and regulations adopted by the commissioner pursuant to subsection a. of this section and any requirement to obtain a Highlands permitting review pursuant this act shall not apply to any major development for which all State environmental land use or water permits and local permits, approvals, and other authorizations have been issued.

 

    33. (New section) The Department of Environmental Protection shall prepare rules and regulations establishing the environmental standards for the preservation area upon which the regional master plan adopted by the council and the Highlands permitting review program administered by the department pursuant to this act shall be based. These rules and regulations shall provide for at least the following:

    a. a prohibition on major development within 300 feet of any Highlands open waters, and the establishment of a 300-foot buffer adjacent to all Highlands open waters. For the purposes of this subsection, major development does not include linear development for infrastructure, utilities, and the rights-of-way therefor, provided that there is no other feasible alternative for the linear development outside of the buffer. Structures or land uses in the buffer existing on the date of enactment of this act may remain, provided that the area of disturbance shall not be increased. This subsection shall not be construed to limit any authority of the department to establish buffers of any size or any other protections for category one waters designated by the department pursuant to the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), or any other law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, for major development or for other development that does not qualify as major development;

    b. measures to ensure that existing water quality shall be maintained, restored, or enhanced in all Highlands open waters and waters of the Highlands, and provide that any new or expanded point source discharge, except discharges from water supply facilities, shall not degrade existing water quality. In the case of water supply facilities, all reasonable measures shall be taken to eliminate or minimize water quality impacts;

    c. notwithstanding the provisions of section 23 of P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-23), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, the criteria for the type of activity or activities eligible for the use of a general permit for an activity located wholly or partially within a freshwater wetland or freshwater wetland transition area located wholly or partially in the preservation area, provided that these criteria are at least as protective as those provided in section 23 of P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-23);

    d. notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of section 5 of P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-5), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, a system for the regulation of any diversion of more than 50,000 gallons per day, and multiple diversions by the same or related entities for the same or related projects or developments of more than 50,000 gallons per day, of waters of the Highlands pursuant to the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), and any permit issued pursuant thereto shall be based on consideration of individual and cumulative impacts of multiple diversions, maintenance of stream base flows, minimization of depletive use, maintenance of existing water quality, and protection of ecological uses;

    e. a septic system density standard established at a level to prevent the degradation of water quality, or to require the restoration of water quality, and to protect ecological uses from individual, secondary, and cumulative impacts, in consideration of deep aquifer recharge available for dilution;

    f. a zero net fill requirement for flood hazard areas pursuant to the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.);

    g. the antidegradation provisions of the surface water quality standards and the stormwater regulations applicable to category one waters to be applied to Highlands open waters;

    h. a prohibition on impervious surfaces of greater than three percent of the land area, except that Highlands open waters shall not be included in the calculation of that land area;

    i. notwithstanding the provisions of the "Safe Drinking Water Act," P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, a limitation or prohibition on the construction of new public water systems or the extension of existing public water systems, except in the case of a demonstrated need to protect public health and safety;

    j. a prohibition on development, except linear development for infrastructure, utilities, and the rights-of-way therefor, provided that no other feasible alternative exists for the linear development, on steep slopes in the preservation area with a grade of 20% or greater, and standards for development on slopes in the preservation area exhibiting a grade of between 10% and 20%. The standards shall assure that developments on slopes exhibiting a grade of between 10% and 20% preserve and protect steep slopes from the negative consequences of development on the site and the cumulative impact in the Highlands Region. The standards shall be developed to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation, protect water quality, prevent stormwater runoff, protect threatened and endangered animal and plant species sites and designated habitats, provide for minimal practicable degradation of unique or irreplaceable land types, historical or archeological areas, and existing scenic attributes at the site and within the surrounding area, protect upland forest, and restrict impervious surface; and shall take into consideration differing soil types, soil erodability, topography, hydrology, geology, and vegetation types; and

    k. a prohibition on development that disturbs upland forested areas, in order to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation, protect water quality, prevent stormwater runoff, and protect threatened and endangered animal and plant species sites and designated habitats; and standards to protect upland forested areas that require all appropriate measures be taken to avoid impacts or disturbance to upland forested areas, and where avoidance is not possible that all appropriate measures have been taken to minimize and mitigate impacts to upland forested areas and to prevent soil erosion and sedimentation, protect water quality, prevent stormwater runoff, and protect threatened and endangered animal and plant species sites and designated habitats.

 

    34. (New section) a. The Department of Environmental Protection shall establish a Highlands permitting review program to provide for the coordinated review of any major development in the preservation area based upon the rules and regulations adopted by the department pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act. The Highlands permitting review program established pursuant to this section shall consolidate the related aspects of other regulatory programs which may include, but need not be limited to, the "Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act," P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-1 et seq.), "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act," P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.), the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), "The Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (1954)," P.L.1954, c.199 (C.58:11-23 et seq.), the "Water Quality Planning Act," P.L.1977, c.75 (C.58:11A-1 et seq.), the "Safe Drinking Water Act," P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.), and any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act. For the purposes of this section, the provisions of P.L.1975, c.232 (C.13:1D-29 et seq.) shall not apply to an application for a permit pursuant to the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.).

    b. The Highlands permitting review program established pursuant to this section shall include:

    (1) a provision limiting the review by the department of an application to a review for the purpose of locating a single family dwelling on the property based upon the least environmental impact to the natural resources located on the property when the application is for the construction of a single family dwelling on property owned by the individual on the date of enactment of this act, but only if the construction requires an environmental land use or water permit and does not result in the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one-quarter acre or more;

    (2) (a) a provision that may allow for the waiver of any provision of a Highlands permitting review on a case-by-case basis to avoid undue hardship to an individual owner of residential property for one single family dwelling that includes the ultimate disturbance of one acre or more of land or an increase in impervious surface by one-quarter acre or more, provided that the property was owned by the individual on the date of enactment of this act;

    (b) a provision that may allow for a waiver of any provision of a Highlands permitting review on a case-by-case basis if determined to be necessary by the department in order to protect public health and safety;

    (c) a provision that may allow for a waiver of any provision of a Highlands permitting review on a case-by-case basis for redevelopment in certain previously developed areas in the preservation area identified by the council pursuant to subsection b. of section 9 of this act; and

    (d) a provision that may allow for a waiver of any provision of the Highlands permitting review on a case-by-case basis in order to avoid the taking of property without just compensation.

    The grant of a waiver pursuant to subparagraphs (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this paragraph by the department shall be conditioned upon the department's determination that the major development meets the requirements prescribed for a finding as listed in subsection a. of section 35 of this act to the maximum extent possible.

    c. The limited review provision of paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section and the waiver provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection b. of this section are limited to the provisions of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 33 of this act, and shall not limit the department's jurisdiction or authority pursuant to any other provision of law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, that is incorporated into the Highlands permitting review program.

    d. The Highlands permitting review program established pursuant to this section may provide for the issuance of a general permit provided that the department adopts rules and regulations which identify the activities subject to general permit review and establish the criteria for the approval or disapproval of a general permit.

    e. Any person proposing to construct or cause to be constructed, or to undertake or cause to be undertaken, as the case may be, a major development in the preservation area shall file an application for a Highlands permitting review with the department, on forms and in a manner prescribed by the department.

    f. The department shall, in accordance with a fee schedule adopted as a rule or regulation, establish and charge reasonable fees necessary to meet the administrative costs of the department associated with the processing, review, and enforcement of any application for a Highlands permitting review. These fees shall be deposited in the "Environmental Services Fund," established pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1975, c.232 (C.13:1D-33), and kept separate and apart from all other State receipts and appropriated only as provided herein. There shall be appropriated annually to the department revenue from that fund sufficient to defray in full the costs incurred in the processing, review, and enforcement of applications for Highlands permitting reviews.

 

    35. (New section) a. The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall review filed applications for Highlands permitting reviews, including any information presented at public hearings or during a comment period, or submitted during the application review period.

    Except as otherwise provided by subsection b. of this section, a Highlands permitting review approval may be issued only upon a finding that the proposed major development:

    (1) would have a de minimis impact on water resources and would not cause or contribute to a significant degradation of surface or ground waters. In making this determination, the commissioner shall consider the extent of any impacts on water resources resulting from the proposed major development, including, but not limited to, the regenerative capacity of aquifers or other surface or ground water supplies, increases in stormwater generated, increases in impervious surface, increases in stormwater pollutant loading, changes in land use, and changes in vegetative cover;

    (2) would cause minimal feasible interference with the natural functioning of animal, plant, and other natural resources at the site and within the surrounding area, and minimal feasible individual and cumulative adverse impacts to the environment both onsite and offsite of the major development;

    (3) will result in minimum feasible alteration or impairment of the aquatic ecosystem including existing contour, vegetation, fish and wildlife resources, and aquatic circulation of a freshwater wetland;

    (4) will not jeopardize the continued existence of species listed pursuant to "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act," P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.) or the "Endangered Plant Species List Act," P.L.1989, c.56 (C.13:1B-15.151 et seq.), or which appear on the federal endangered or threatened species list, and will not result in the likelihood of the destruction or adverse modification of habitat for any rare, threatened, or endangered species of animal or plant;

    (5) is located or constructed so as to neither endanger human life or property nor otherwise impair the public health, safety, and welfare;

    (6) would result in minimal practicable degradation of unique or irreplaceable land types, historical or archeological areas, and existing public scenic attributes at the site and within the surrounding area; and

    (7) meets all other applicable department standards, rules, and regulations and State laws.

    b. A Highlands permitting review approval may be issued to a major development subject to a limited review pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection b. of section 34 of this act or granted a waiver pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection b. of section 34 of this act notwithstanding the inability to make the finding required pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

 

    36. (New section) a. Whenever the Commissioner of Environmental Protection finds that a person has violated any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act, the commissioner may:

    (1) Issue an order requiring any such person to comply in accordance with subsection b. of this section; or

    (2) Bring a civil action in accordance with subsection c. of this section; or

    (3) Levy a civil administrative penalty in accordance with subsection d. of this section; or

    (4) Bring an action for a civil penalty in accordance with subsection e. of this section; or

    (5) Petition the Attorney General to bring a criminal action in accordance with subsection f. of this section.

    Recourse to any of the remedies available under this section shall not preclude recourse to any of the other remedies prescribed in this section or by any other applicable law.

    b. Whenever, on the basis of available information, the commissioner finds a person in violation of any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act, the commissioner may issue an order: (1) specifying the provision or provisions of the rule, regulation, permit, approval, or authorization of which the person is in violation; (2) citing the action which constituted the violation; (3) requiring compliance with the provision or provisions violated; (4) requiring the restoration of the area which is the site of the violation; and (5) providing notice to the person of the right to a hearing on the matters contained in the order.

    c. The commissioner is authorized to institute a civil action in Superior Court for appropriate relief from any violation of any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act. Such relief may include, singly or in combination:

    (1) A temporary or permanent injunction;

    (2) Assessment of the violator for the costs of any investigation, inspection, or monitoring survey which led to the establishment of the violation, and for the reasonable costs of preparing and bringing legal action under this subsection;

    (3) Assessment of the violator for any costs incurred by the State in removing, correcting, or terminating the adverse effects resulting from any unauthorized regulated activity for which legal action under this subsection may have been brought;

    (4) Assessment against the violator for compensatory damages for any loss or destruction of wildlife, fish or aquatic life, and for any other actual damages caused by an unauthorized regulated activity;

    (5) A requirement that the violator restore the site of the violation to the maximum extent practicable and feasible.

    d. The commissioner is authorized to assess a civil administrative penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation of any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act, and each day during which each violation continues shall constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense. Any amount assessed under this subsection shall fall within a range established by regulation by the commissioner for violations of similar type, seriousness, and duration. No assessment shall be levied pursuant to this section until after the party has been notified by certified mail or personal service. The notice shall: (1) identify the section of the rule, regulation, permit, approval, or authorization violated; (2) recite the facts alleged to constitute a violation; (3) state the amount of the civil penalties to be imposed; and (4) affirm the rights of the alleged violator to a hearing. The ordered party shall have 20 days from receipt of the notice within which to deliver to the commissioner a written request for a hearing. After the hearing and upon finding that a violation has occurred, the commissioner may issue a final order after assessing the amount of the fine specified in the notice. If no hearing is requested, the notice shall become a final order after the expiration of the 20-day period. Payment of the assessment is due when a final order is issued or the notice becomes a final order. The authority to levy an administrative penalty is in addition to all other enforcement provisions in this act and in any other applicable law, rule, or regulation, and the payment of any assessment shall not be deemed to affect the availability of any other enforcement provisions in connection with the violation for which the assessment is levied. Any civil administrative penalty assessed under this section may be compromised by the commissioner upon the posting of a performance bond by the violator, or upon such terms and conditions as the commissioner may establish by regulation.

    e. A person who violates any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act, an administrative order issued pursuant to subsection b. of this section, or a court order issued pursuant to subsection c. of this section, or who fails to pay a civil administrative penalty in full pursuant to subsection d. of this section, shall be subject, upon order of a court, to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day of such violation, and each day during which the violation continues shall constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense. Any civil penalty imposed pursuant to this subsection may be collected with costs in a summary proceeding pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). The Superior Court and the municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999" in connection with this act.

    f. A person who purposely or negligently violates any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a crime of the fourth degree and, notwithstanding any provision of N.J.S.2C:43-3 to the contrary, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $25,000 per day of violation, in addition to any other applicable penalties and provisions under Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes. A second or subsequent offense under this subsection shall subject the violator to a fine, notwithstanding any provision of N.J.S.2C:43-3 to the contrary, of not less than $5,000 nor more than $50,000 per day of violation, in addition to any other applicable penalties and provisions under Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes. A person who knowingly makes a false statement, representation, or certification in any application, record, or other document filed or required to be maintained under this act shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a crime of the fourth degree and, notwithstanding any provision of N.J.S.2C:43-3 to the contrary, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $10,000, in addition to any other applicable penalties and provisions under Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

    g. In addition to the penalties prescribed in this section, a notice of violation of any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act, shall be recorded on the deed of the property wherein the violation occurred, on order of the commissioner, by the clerk or register of deeds and mortgages of the county wherein the affected property is located and with the clerk of the Superior Court and shall remain attached thereto until such time as the violation has been remedied and the commissioner orders the notice of violation removed.

    h. The department may require an applicant or permittee to provide any information the department requires to determine compliance with any provision of section 31 of this act, a Highlands permitting review approval issued pursuant to section 35 of this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to sections 32 and 33 of this act.

    i. All penalties collected pursuant to this section shall either be used, as determined by the council, by the department for the acquisition of lands in the preservation area or by any development transfer bank used or established by the council to purchase development potential in the preservation area.

 

    37. (New section) Notwithstanding the provisions P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-1 et seq.), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, major development as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) that includes a regulated activity as defined in section 3 of P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-3) in a freshwater wetland or freshwater wetland transition area located wholly or partially in the Highlands preservation area as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) shall also be regulated pursuant to sections 31 through 36 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

 

    38. (New section) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of section 5 of P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-5), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to section 33 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), shall establish a permit system to provide for review of allocations or reallocations of waters of the Highlands, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), to provide for the issuance of permits for diversions either individually or cumulatively of more than 50,000 gallons per day of waters of the Highlands in the Highlands preservation area as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

 

    39. (New section) Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) and the "Water Quality Planning Act," P.L.1977, c.75 (C.58:11A-1 et seq.), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to section 33 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), shall establish a septic system density standard at a level to prevent the degradation of water quality, or to require the restoration of water quality, and to protect ecological uses from individual, secondary, and cumulative impacts, in consideration of deep aquifer recharge available for dilution, which standard shall be applied to any major development as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) located wholly or partially within the Highlands preservation area as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

 

    40. (New section) Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Safe Drinking Water Act," P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to section 33 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), within the Highlands preservation area as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C.    ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), shall limit or prohibit the construction of new public water systems or the extension of existing public water systems, except in the case of a demonstrated need to protect public health and safety.

 

    41. (New section) Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) and the "Water Quality Planning Act," P.L.1977, c.75 (C.58:11A-1 et seq.), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, within the Highlands preservation area as defined in section 3 of P.L.    , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), designated sewer service areas for which wastewater collection systems have not been installed on the date of enactment of P.L. , c.    (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) are hereby revoked, and any associated treatment works approvals in the impacted areas shall expire on the date of enactment of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and the Department of Environmental Protection shall implement measures to amend any water quality management plan as appropriate to reflect the revocation of designated sewer service areas pursuant to this section.

 

    42. (New section) Notwithstanding the provisions of the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.), or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to section 33 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), shall establish a zero net fill requirement within any flood hazard area located wholly or partially within the Highlands preservation area as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

 

    43. Section 24 of P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-31) is amended to read as follows:

    24. a. Any landowner applying to the board to sell a development easement pursuant to section 17 of P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-24) shall offer to sell the development easement at a price which, in the opinion of the landowner, represents a fair value of the development potential of the land for nonagricultural purposes, as determined in accordance with the provisions of [this act] P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-11 et seq.).

    b. Any offer shall be reviewed and evaluated by the board and the committee in order to determine the suitability of the land for development easement purchase. Decisions regarding suitability shall be based on the following criteria:

    (1) Priority consideration shall be given, in any one county, to offers with higher numerical values obtained by applying the following formula:

 

       nonagricultural - agricultural - landowner's

    developmental value value asking price

---------------------------------------------------------------

                 nonagricultural - agricultural

              development value value

 

    (2) The degree to which the purchase would encourage the survivability of the municipally approved program in productive agriculture; and

    (3) The degree of imminence of change of the land from productive agriculture to nonagricultural use.

    The board and the committee shall reject any offer for the sale of development easements which is unsuitable according to the above criteria and which has not been approved by the board and the municipality.

    c. Two independent appraisals paid for by the board shall be conducted for each parcel of land so offered and deemed suitable. The appraisals shall be conducted by independent, professional appraisers selected by the board and the committee from among members of recognized organizations of real estate appraisers. The appraisals shall determine the current overall value of the parcel for nonagricultural purposes, as well as the current market value of the parcel for agricultural purposes. The difference between the two values shall represent an appraisal of the value of the development easement. If Burlington County or a municipality therein has established a development transfer bank pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1989, c.86 (C.40:55D-113 et seq.) or the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council has established a development transfer bank pursuant to section 13 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), the municipal average of the value of the development potential of property in a sending zone established by the bank may be the value used by the board in determining the value of the development easement. If a development easement is purchased using moneys appropriated from the fund, the State shall provide no more than 80%, except 100% under emergency conditions specified by the committee pursuant to rules or regulations, of the cost of the appraisals conducted pursuant to this section.

    d. Upon receiving the results of the appraisals, or in Burlington county or a municipality therein or elsewhere where a municipal average has been established under [P.L.1989, c.86 (C.40:55D-113 et seq.)] subsection c. of this section, upon receiving an application from the landowners, the board and the committee shall compare the appraised value, or the municipal average, as the case may be, and the landowner's offer and, pursuant to the suitability criteria established in subsection b. of this section:

    (1) Approve the application to sell the development easement and rank the application in accordance with the criteria established in subsection b. of this section; or

    (2) Disapprove the application, stating the reasons therefor.

    e. Upon approval by the committee and the board, the secretary is authorized to provide the board, within the limits of funds appropriated therefor, an amount equal to no more than 80%, except 100% under emergency conditions specified by the committee pursuant to rules or regulations, of the purchase price of the development easement, as determined pursuant to the provisions of this section. The board shall provide its required share and accept the landowner's offer to sell the development easement. The acceptance shall cite the specific terms, contingencies and conditions of the purchase.

    f. The landowner shall accept or reject the offer within 30 days of receipt thereof. Any offer not accepted within that time shall be deemed rejected.

    g. Any landowner whose application to sell a development easement has been rejected for any reason other than insufficient funds may not reapply to sell a development easement on the same land within two years of the original application.

    h. No development easement shall be purchased at a price greater than the appraised value determined pursuant to subsection c. of this section or the municipal average, as the case may be.

    i. The appraisals conducted pursuant to this section or the fair market value of land restricted to agricultural use shall not be used to increase the assessment and taxation of agricultural land pursuant to the "Farmland Assessment Act of 1964," P.L.1964, c.48 (C.54:4-23.1 et seq.).

    j. (1) In determining the suitability of land for development easement purchase, the board and the committee may also include as additional factors for consideration the presence of a historic building or structure on the land and the willingness of the landowner to preserve that building or structure, but only if the committee first adopts, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations implementing this subsection. The committee may, by rule or regulation adopted pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," assign any such weight it deems appropriate to be given to these factors.

    (2) The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection may also be applied in determining the suitability of land for fee simple purchase for farmland preservation purposes as authorized by P.L.1983, c.31 (C.4:1C-1 et seq.), P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-11 et seq.), and P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et seq.).

    (3) (a) For the purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection: "historic building or structure" means the same as that term is defined pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of P.L.2001, c.405 (C.13:8C-40.2).

    (b) For the purposes of paragraph (2) of this subsection, "historic building or structure" means the same as that term is defined pursuant to subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.2001, c.405 (C.13:8C-40.1).

(cf: P.L.2001, c.405, s.3)

 

    44. Section 29 of P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-36) is amended to read as follows:

    29. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prohibit the creation of a municipally approved program or other farmland preservation program, the purchase of development easements, or the extension of any other benefit herein provided on land, and to owners thereof, in the Pinelands area, as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L. 1979, c. 111 (C. 13:18A-3), or in the Highlands Region, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) .

(cf: P.L.1983, c.32, s.29)

 

    45. Section 4 of P.L.1993, c.339 (C.4:1C-52) is amended to read as follows:

    4. The board shall have the following powers:

    a. To purchase, or to provide matching funds for the purchase of 80% of, the value of development potential and to otherwise facilitate development transfers, from the owner of record of the property from which the development potential is to be transferred or from any person, or entity, public or private, holding the interest in development potential that is subject to development transfer; provided that, in the case of providing matching funds for the purchase of 80% of the value of development potential, the remaining 20% of that value is contributed by the affected municipality or county, or both, after public notice thereof in the New Jersey Register and in one newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the purchase. The remaining 20% of the value of the development potential to be contributed by the affected municipality or county, or both, to match funds provided by the board, may be obtained by purchase from, or donation by, the owner of record of the property from which the development potential is to be transferred or from any person, or entity, public or private, holding the interest in development potential that is subject to development transfer. The value of development potential may be determined by either appraisal, municipal averaging based upon appraisal data, or by a formula supported by appraisal data. The board may also engage in development transfer by sale, exchange, or other method of conveyance, provided that in doing so, the board shall not substantially impair the private sale, exchange or other method of conveyance of development potential. The board may not, nor shall anything in this act be construed as permitting the board to, engage in development transfer from one municipality to another, which transfer is not in accordance with the ordinances of both municipalities;

    b. To adopt and, from time to time, amend or repeal suitable bylaws for the management of its affairs;

    c. To adopt and use an official seal and alter that seal at its pleasure;

    d. To apply for, receive, and accept, from any federal, State, or other public or private source, grants or loans for, or in aid of, the board's authorized purposes;

    e. To enter into any agreement or contract, execute any legal document, and perform any act or thing necessary, convenient, or desirable for the purposes of the board or to carry out any power expressly given in this act;

    f. To adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this act;

    g. To call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county, or municipal department, board, commission, or agency as may be required and made available for these purposes;

    h. To retain such staff as may be necessary in the career service and to appoint an executive director thereof. The executive director shall serve as a member of the senior executive or unclassified service and may be appointed without regard to the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes;

    i. To review and analyze innovative techniques that may be employed to maximize the total acreage reserved through the use of perpetual easements;

    j. To provide, through the State TDR Bank, a financial guarantee with respect to any loan to be extended to any person that is secured using development potential as collateral for the loan. Financial guarantees provided under this act shall be in accordance with procedures, terms and conditions, and requirements, including rights and obligations of the parties in the event of default on any loan secured in whole or in part using development potential as collateral, to be established by rule or regulation adopted by the board pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act";

    k. To enter into agreement with the State Agriculture Development Committee for the purpose of acquiring development potential through the acquisition of development easements on farmland so that the board may utilize the existing processes, procedures, and capabilities of the State Agriculture Development Committee as necessary and appropriate to accomplish the goals and objectives of the board as provided for pursuant to this act;

    l. To enter into agreements with other State agencies or entities providing services and programs authorized by law so that the board may utilize the existing processes, procedures, and capabilities of those other agencies or entities as necessary and appropriate to accomplish the goals and objectives of the board as provided for pursuant to this act; [and]

    m. To provide planning assistance grants to municipalities that have adopted viable development transfer ordinances, as determined by the board, for up to 50% of the cost of planning associated with such an ordinance and incurred by a municipality, or $10,000, whichever is less, which grants shall be made utilizing moneys deposited into the bank pursuant to section 8 of [this act] P.L.1993, c.339;

    n. To provide funding to any development transfer bank that may be established by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council pursuant to section 13 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), for (1) the purchase of development potential by the Highlands development transfer bank, and (2) the council to provide planning assistance grants to municipalities in the Highlands Region that are participating in a transfer of development rights program implemented by the council pursuant to section 13 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) in such amounts as the council deems appropriate notwithstanding any provision of subsection m. of this section or of section 8 of P.L.1993, c.339 to the contrary; and

    o. To serve as a development transfer bank for the Highlands Region if requested to do so by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council pursuant to section 13 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) .

(cf: P.L.1993, c.339, s.4)

 

    46. Section 11 of P.L.1983, c.560 (C.13:1B-15.143) is amended to read as follows:

    11. Subject to the provisions of Title [11 of the Revised] 11A of the New Jersey Statutes, and within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available, the commissioner may appoint any officer or employee to the department necessary to carry out the provisions of [this act] P.L.1983, c.560 (C.13:1B-15.133 et seq.) , fix and determine their qualifications, which may include a knowledge of and familiarity with the pinelands area or the Highlands Region and the residents thereof.

(cf: P.L.1983, c.560, s.11)

 

    47. Section 1 of P.L.1997, c.64 (C.13:1B-15.159) is amended to read as follows:

    1. The Department of Environmental Protection, in cooperation with the Division of Travel and Tourism in the [Department of] New Jersey Commerce and Economic [Development] Growth Commission, [and] in consultation with the Pinelands Commission as it affects the pinelands area designated pursuant to section 10 of P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-11), and in consultation with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council as it affects the Highlands Region designated pursuant to section 7 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), shall establish a natural resources inventory, using the Geographic Information System, for the purpose of encouraging ecologically based tourism and recreation in New Jersey. This inventory shall contain information on New Jersey's natural, historic, and recreational resources, and shall include, to the greatest extent possible, but need not be limited to, federal, State, county and local parks, wildlife management areas, hatcheries, natural areas, historic sites, State forests, recreational areas, ecological and biological study sites, reservoirs, marinas, boat launches, campgrounds, waterfront access points, winter sports recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges.

(cf: P.L.1997, c.64, s.1)

 

    48. Section 1 of P.L.1995, c.306 (C.13:1D-58) is amended to read as follows:

    1. a. The provisions of P.L.1993, c.38 (C.13:1D-51 et seq.) shall not apply in the case of conveyances by the State or the department involving an exchange of lands within the pinelands area, as defined in section 10 of P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-11), or within the Hackensack Meadowlands District, as defined in section 4 of P.L.1968, c.404 (C.13:17-4), or within the Highlands Region as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), to the federal government or any agency or entity thereof, another State agency or entity, or a local unit, provided the lands to be conveyed are used for recreation or conservation purposes, shall continue to be used for recreation or conservation purposes and it has been determined pursuant to subsection c. of this section that the proposed recreation and conservation purposes for the lands do not significantly alter the ecological and environmental value of the lands being exchanged.

    b. Prior to any conveyance of lands that is exempted from the provisions of P.L.1993, c.38 (C.13:1D-51 et seq.) pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the Department of Environmental Protection shall conduct at least one public hearing on the proposed conveyance in the municipality in which the lands proposed to be conveyed are located. The local unit proposing the recreation or conservation use of the lands being exchanged shall present its proposal for the use of the lands being exchanged at the public hearing, including a description of the proposed recreation or conservation use of the lands and any proposed alterations to the lands for the recreation or conservation purposes.

    c. As a condition of any conveyance of lands that is exempted from the provisions of P.L.1993, c.38 (C.13:1D-51 et seq.) pursuant to subsection a. of this section, and prior to any public hearing required pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the Pinelands Commission, [or] the [Hackensack] New Jersey Meadowlands [Development] Commission, or the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, as appropriate, after consultation with the local units in which the lands to be conveyed are located, shall determine that the proposed recreation or conservation purpose does not significantly alter the ecological and environmental value of the lands being exchanged. The appropriate commission or council shall determine that the proposed recreation or conservation purpose does not significantly alter the ecological and environmental value of the lands being exchanged, if:

    (1) the appropriate commission or council determines that any proposed recreation or conservation use of the lands being exchanged is consistent with the law, rules and regulations governing the protection and development of the pinelands area or pinelands preservation area, as appropriate and as defined in section 10 of P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-11), [or] the Hackensack Meadowlands District, as defined in section 4 of P.L.1968, c.404 (C.13:17-4), or the Highlands Region, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and the requirements of the law, rules or regulations have been met to the satisfaction of the appropriate commission or council; and

    (2) a portion of the lands would be maintained in an undeveloped or pre-conveyance state and no wetlands would be negatively affected in violation of State or federal law, or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto.

    The determinations required pursuant to this subsection shall be made available to the public at the time of the public hearing required pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

    d. For the purposes of this section, "local unit" means a municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the State, or any agency thereof authorized to administer, protect, develop and maintain lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

(cf: P.L.1995, c.306, s.1)

 

    49. Section 18 of P.L.1985, c.432 (C.13:1M-18) is amended to read as follows:

    18. a. Nothing in this act shall be construed to supersede or prohibit the adoption, by the governing body of any [county or] municipality or county, of any ordinance or resolution regulating or prohibiting the exploration beyond the reconnaissance phase, drilling for and the extraction of oil and natural gas. As used in this section, "reconnaissance" means:

    (1) A geologic and mineral resource appraisal of a region by searching and analyzing published literature, aerial photography, and geologic maps;

    (2) Use of geophysical, geochemical, and remote sensing techniques that do not involve road building, land clearing or the introduction of chemicals to a land or water area;

    (3) Surface geologic, topographic or other mapping and property surveying; or

    (4) Sample collections which do not involve excavation or drilling equipment or the introduction of chemicals to land or water area.

    b. A municipality or county shall submit a copy of any ordinance or regulation specifically pertaining to activities regulated by this act, or a rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to this act, to the department.

    c. The department shall, within 90 days of submittal, approve or disapprove any ordinance or regulation submitted pursuant to subsection b. of this section. An ordinance or regulation shall be disapproved only if the department finds it unreasonable and provides in writing its reasons for the finding. The failure of the department to act within 90 days of submittal shall constitute approval.

    d. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of a municipality or county or board of health to enact ordinances or regulations of general applicability to all industrial or commercial activities, including, but not limited to, ordinances and regulations limiting noise, light, and odor.

    e. The department shall not approve any ordinance or regulation submitted pursuant to subsection b. of this section which governs activities within the Pinelands area designated in the "Pinelands Protection Act," P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.), unless the Pinelands Commission has approved the ordinance or regulation. The department shall not disapprove an ordinance or regulation, or portion thereof, which has been certified by the Pinelands Commission as consistent with the requirements of the Comprehensive Management Plan as required by the "Pinelands Protection Act."

    f. The department shall not approve any ordinance or regulation submitted pursuant to subsection b. of this section which governs activities within the Highlands preservation area designated in the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act," P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), unless the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council has approved the ordinance or regulation. The department shall not disapprove an ordinance or regulation, or portion thereof, which has been certified by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council as consistent with the requirements of the Highlands regional master plan as required by the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act."

(cf: P.L.1985, c.432, s.18)

 

    50. Section 25 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-25) is amended to read as follows:

    25. Within one year after the date of enactment of this act, and biennially thereafter until and including 2008, the Garden State Preservation Trust, after consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, the State Agriculture Development Committee, the New Jersey Historic Trust, the Pinelands Commission, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, and the Office of State Planning in the Department of Community Affairs, shall prepare and submit to the Governor and the Legislature a written report, which shall:

    a. Describe the progress being made on achieving the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution and this act with respect to the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, the preservation of farmland, and the preservation of historic properties, and provide recommendations with respect to any legislative, administrative, or local action that may be required to ensure that those goals and objectives may be met in the future;

    b. Tabulate, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, the total acreage for the entire State, and the acreage in each county and municipality, of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes and of farmland preserved for farmland preservation purposes that have been applied toward meeting the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution and this act with respect to the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes and the preservation of farmland;

    c. Tabulate, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, the total acreage for the entire State, and the acreage in each county and municipality, of any donations of land that have been applied toward meeting the goals and objectives of Article VIII, Section II, paragraph 7 of the State Constitution and this act with respect to the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes and the preservation of farmland;

    d. List, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, and by project name, project sponsor, and location by county and municipality, all historic preservation projects funded with constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part;

    e. Indicate those areas of the State where, as designated by the Department of Environmental Protection in the Open Space Master Plan prepared pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2002, c.76 (C.13:8C-25.1), the acquisition and development of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes is planned or is most likely to occur, and those areas of the State where there is a need to protect water resources, including the identification of lands where protection is needed to assure adequate quality and quantity of drinking water supplies in times of drought, indicate those areas of the State where the allocation of constitutionally dedicated moneys for farmland preservation purposes is planned or is most likely to occur, and provide a proposed schedule and expenditure plan for those acquisitions, developments, and allocations, for the next reporting period, which shall include an explanation of how those acquisitions, developments, and allocations will be distributed throughout all geographic regions of the State to the maximum extent practicable and feasible;

    f. List any surplus real property owned by the State or an independent authority of the State that may be utilizable for recreation and conservation purposes or farmland preservation purposes, and indicate what action has been or must be taken to effect a conveyance of those lands to the department, the committee, local government units, qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations, or other entities or persons so that the lands may be preserved and used for those purposes;

    g. List, for the reporting period, all projects for which applications for funding under the Green Acres, farmland preservation, and historic preservation programs were received but not funded with constitutionally dedicated moneys during the reporting period, and the reason or reasons why those projects were not funded;

    h. Provide, for the reporting period, a comparison of the amount of constitutionally dedicated moneys annually appropriated for local government unit projects for recreation and conservation purposes in municipalities eligible to receive State aid pursuant to P.L.1978, c.14 (C.52:27D-178 et seq.) to the average amount of Green Acres bond act moneys annually appropriated for such projects in the years 1984 through 1998; and

    i. Tabulate, both for the reporting period and cumulatively, the total acreage for the entire State, and the acreage in each county and municipality, of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes that protect water resources and that protect flood-prone areas.

(cf: P.L.2002, c.76, s.3)

 

    51. Section 5 of P.L.2002, c.76 (C.13:8C-25.1) is amended to read as follows:

    5. a. Within one year after the date of enactment of P.L.2002, c.76 (C.13:8C-25.1 et al.), and annually thereafter, the Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Office of State Planning in the Department of Community Affairs [and], the Pinelands Commission, and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, shall prepare and submit to the Governor and the Legislature an Open Space Master Plan, which shall indicate those areas of the State where the acquisition and development of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes is planned or is most likely to occur, and those areas of the State where there is a need to protect water resources, including the identification of lands where protection is needed to assure adequate quality and quantity of drinking water supplies in times of drought, and which shall provide a proposed schedule and expenditure plan for those acquisitions and developments for the next reporting period, which shall include an explanation of how those acquisitions and developments will be distributed throughout all geographic regions of the State to the maximum extent practicable and feasible.

    b. The department shall provide any information the Garden State Preservation Trust deems necessary in preparing its biennial report pursuant to section 25 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-25).

(cf: P.L.2002, c.76, s.5)

 

    52. Section 26 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-26) is amended to read as follows:

    26. a. Moneys appropriated from the Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund to the Department of Environmental Protection shall be used by the department to:

    (1) Pay the cost of acquisition and development of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes;

    (2) Provide grants and loans to assist local government units to pay the cost of acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes; and

    (3) Provide grants to assist qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations to pay the cost of acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes.

    b. The expenditure and allocation of constitutionally dedicated moneys for recreation and conservation purposes shall reflect the geographic diversity of the State to the maximum extent practicable and feasible.

    c. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 5 of P.L.1985, c.310 (C.13:18A-34) or this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, the value of a pinelands development credit, allocated to a parcel pursuant to P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.) and the pinelands comprehensive management plan adopted pursuant thereto, shall be made utilizing a value to be determined by either appraisal, regional averaging based upon appraisal data, or a formula supported by appraisal data. The appraisal and appraisal data shall consider as appropriate: land values in the pinelands regional growth areas; land values in counties, municipalities, and other areas reasonably contiguous to, but outside of, the pinelands area; and other relevant factors as may be necessary to maintain the environmental, ecological, and agricultural qualities of the pinelands area.

    (2) No pinelands development credit allocated to a parcel of land pursuant to P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.) and the pinelands comprehensive management plan adopted pursuant thereto that is acquired or obtained in connection with the acquisition of the parcel for recreation and conservation purposes by the State, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part may be conveyed in any manner. All such pinelands development credits shall be retired permanently.

    d. (1) (a) For State fiscal years 2000 through 2004 only, when the department, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization seeks to acquire lands for recreation and conservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part or Green Acres bond act moneys in whole or in part, it shall conduct or cause to be conducted an appraisal or appraisals of the value of the lands that shall be made using the land use zoning of the lands (I) in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (ii) in effect on November 3, 1998 as if that land use zoning is still in effect at the time of proposed acquisition. The higher of those two values shall be utilized by the department, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization as the basis for negotiation with the landowner with respect to the acquisition price for the lands. The landowner shall be provided with both values determined pursuant to this subparagraph.

    A landowner may waive any of the requirements of this paragraph and may agree to sell the lands for less than the values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    (b) After the date of enactment of P.L.2001, c.315 and through June 30, 2004, in determining the two values required pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, the appraisal shall be made using not only the land use zoning but also the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal (I) in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (ii) in effect on November 3, 1998 as if those rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards are still in effect at the time of proposed acquisition.

    (2) The requirements of this subsection shall be in addition to any other requirements of law, rule, or regulation not inconsistent therewith.

    (3) This subsection shall not:

    (a) apply if the land use zoning of the lands at the time of proposed acquisition, and the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands at the time of proposed acquisition, have not changed since November 3, 1998;

    (b) apply in the case of lands to be acquired with federal moneys in whole or in part;

    (c) apply in the case of lands to be acquired in accordance with subsection c. of this section;

    (d) apply to projects funded using constitutionally dedicated moneys appropriated pursuant to the annual appropriations act for State fiscal year 2000 (P.L.1999, c.138); or

    (e) alter any requirements to disclose information to a landowner pursuant to the "Eminent Domain Act of 1971," P.L.1971, c.361 (C.20:3-1 et seq.).

    e. Moneys appropriated from the fund may be used to match grants, contributions, donations, or reimbursements from federal aid programs or from other public or private sources established for the same or similar purposes as the fund.

    f. Moneys appropriated from the fund shall not be used by local government units or qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations to acquire lands that are already permanently preserved for recreation and conservation purposes, as determined by the department.

    g. Whenever lands are donated to the State by a public utility, as defined pursuant to Title 48 of the Revised Statutes, for recreation and conservation purposes, the commissioner may make and keep the lands accessible to the public, unless the commissioner determines that public accessibility would be detrimental to the lands or any natural resources associated therewith.

    h. Whenever the State acquires land for recreation and conservation purposes, the agency in the Department of Environmental Protection responsible for administering the land shall, within six months after the date of acquisition, inspect the land for the presence of any buildings or structures thereon which are or may be historic properties and, within 60 days after completion of the inspection, provide to the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office in the department (1) a written notice of its findings, and (2) for any buildings or structures which are or may be historic properties discovered on the land, a request for determination of potential eligibility for inclusion of the historic building or structure in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. Whenever such a building or structure is discovered, a copy of the written notice provided to the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office shall also be sent to the New Jersey Historic Trust and to the county historical commission or advisory committee, the county historical society, the local historic preservation commission or advisory committee, and the local historical society if any of those entities exist in the county or municipality wherein the land is located.

    i. (1) Commencing July 1, 2004 and until five years after the date of enactment of P.L.2001, c.315, when the department, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization seeks to acquire lands for recreation and conservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part or Green Acres bond act moneys in whole or in part, it shall conduct or cause to be conducted an appraisal or appraisals of the value of the lands that shall be made using the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal (a) in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (b) in effect on November 3, 1998 as if those rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards are still in effect at the time of proposed acquisition. The higher of those two values shall be utilized by the department, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization as the basis for negotiation with the landowner with respect to the acquisition price for the lands. The landowner shall be provided with both values determined pursuant to this paragraph. A landowner may waive any of the requirements of this paragraph and may agree to sell the lands for less than the values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    (2) The requirements of this subsection shall be in addition to any other requirements of law, rule, or regulation not inconsistent therewith.

    (3) This subsection shall not:

    (a) apply if the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands at the time of proposed acquisition have not changed since November 3, 1998;

    (b) apply in the case of lands to be acquired with federal moneys in whole or in part;

    (c) apply in the case of lands to be acquired in accordance with subsection c. of this section; or

    (d) alter any requirements to disclose information to a landowner pursuant to the "Eminent Domain Act of 1971," P.L.1971, c.361 (C.20:3-1 et seq.).

    j. (1) Commencing on the date of enactment of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) and until five years after that date, when the department, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization seeks to acquire lands in the Highlands preservation area for recreation and conservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part or Green Acres bond act moneys in whole or in part, it shall conduct or cause to be conducted an appraisal or appraisals of the value of the lands that shall be made using (a) the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) and the provisions of section 31 of that act applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal and in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (b) the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to any environmental land use or water law applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal and in effect on the day before the date of enactment of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill). The higher of those two values shall be utilized by the department, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization as the basis for negotiation with the landowner with respect to the acquisition price for the lands. The landowner shall be provided with both values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    A landowner may waive any of the requirements of this paragraph and may agree to sell the lands for less than the values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    The provisions of this paragraph shall be applicable only to lands the owner of which at the time of proposed acquisition is the same person who owned the lands on the date of enactment of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) and who has owned the lands continuously since that enactment date, or is an immediate family member of that person.

    (2) A landowner whose lands are subject to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall choose to have the lands appraised in accordance with this subsection or in accordance with the provisions of either subsection d. or subsection i. of this section to the extent that the subsection is applicable and has not expired.

    (3) The requirements of this subsection shall be in addition to any other requirements of law, rule, or regulation not inconsistent therewith.

    (4) This subsection shall not:

    (a) apply in the case of lands to be acquired with federal moneys in whole or in part; or

    (b) alter any requirements to disclose information to a landowner pursuant to the "Eminent Domain Act of 1971," P.L.1971, c.361 (C.20:3-1 et seq.).

    (5) For the purposes of this subsection:

    "Environmental land use or water law" means the "Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act," P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-1 et seq.), the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), "The Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (1954)," P.L.1954, c.199 (C.58:11-23 et seq.), the "Water Quality Planning Act," P.L.1977, c.75 (C.58:11A-1 et seq.), the "Safe Drinking Water Act," P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), or the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.);

    "Highlands preservation area" means the preservation area in the Highlands Region as defined pursuant to section of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill); and

    "Immediate family member" means spouse, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister, whether the individual is related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

    [j.] k. The department shall adopt guidelines for the evaluation and priority ranking process which shall be used in making decisions concerning the acquisition of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes using moneys from the Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund and from any other source. The guidelines, and any subsequent revisions thereto, shall be published in the New Jersey Register. The adoption of the guidelines or of the revisions thereto, shall not be subject to the requirements of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

    [k.] l. In making decisions concerning the acquisition of lands by the State for recreation and conservation purposes using moneys from the Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund, in the evaluation and priority ranking process the department shall accord three times the weight to acquisitions of lands that would protect water resources, and two times the weight to acquisitions of lands that would protect flood-prone areas, as those criteria are compared to the other criteria in the priority ranking process.

    [l.] m. The department, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), shall adopt rules and regulations that establish standards and requirements regulating any activity on lands acquired by the State for recreation and conservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys to assure that the activity on those lands does not diminish the protection of surface water or groundwater resources.

    Any rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this subsection shall not apply to activities on lands acquired prior to the adoption of the rules and regulations.

(cf: P.L.2002, c.76, s.4)

 

    53. Section 38 of P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-38) is amended to read as follows:

    38. a. All acquisitions or grants made pursuant to section 37 of this act shall be made with respect to farmland devoted to farmland preservation under programs established by law.

    b. The expenditure and allocation of constitutionally dedicated moneys for farmland preservation purposes shall reflect the geographic diversity of the State to the maximum extent practicable and feasible.

    c. The committee shall implement the provisions of section 37 of this act in accordance with the procedures and criteria established pursuant to the "Agriculture Retention and Development Act," P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-11 et seq.) except as provided otherwise by this act.

    d. The committee shall adopt the same or a substantially similar method for determining, for the purposes of this act, the committee's share of the cost of a development easement on farmland to be acquired by a local government as that which is being used by the committee on the date of enactment of this act for prior farmland preservation funding programs.

    e. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-31) or this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, whenever the value of a development easement on farmland to be acquired using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part is determined based upon the value of any pinelands development credits allocated to the parcel pursuant to P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.) and the pinelands comprehensive management plan adopted pursuant thereto, the committee shall determine the value of the development easement by:

    (1) conducting a sufficient number of fair market value appraisals as it deems appropriate to determine the value for farmland preservation purposes of the pinelands development credits;

    (2) considering development easement values in counties, municipalities, and other areas (a) reasonably contiguous to, but outside of, the pinelands area, which in the sole opinion of the committee constitute reasonable development easement values in the pinelands area for the purposes of this subsection, and (b) in the pinelands area where pinelands development credits are or may be utilized, which in the sole opinion of the committee constitute reasonable development easement values in the pinelands area for the purposes of this subsection;

    (3) considering land values in the pinelands regional growth areas;

    (4) considering the importance of preserving agricultural lands in the pinelands area; and

    (5) considering such other relevant factors as may be necessary to increase participation in the farmland preservation program by owners of agricultural lands located in the pinelands area.

    f. No pinelands development credit that is acquired or obtained in connection with the acquisition of a development easement on farmland or fee simple title to farmland by the State, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part may be conveyed in any manner. All such pinelands development credits shall be retired permanently.

    g. (1) (a) For State fiscal years 2000 through 2004 only, when the committee, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization seeks to acquire a development easement on farmland or the fee simple title to farmland for farmland preservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part, it shall conduct or cause to be conducted an appraisal or appraisals of the value of the lands that shall be made using the land use zoning of the lands (I) in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (ii) in effect on November 3, 1998 as if that land use zoning is still in effect at the time of proposed acquisition. The higher of those two values shall be utilized by the committee, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization as the basis for negotiation with the landowner with respect to the acquisition price for the lands. The landowner shall be provided with both values determined pursuant to this subparagraph.

    A landowner may waive any of the requirements of this paragraph and may agree to sell the lands for less than the values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    (b) After the date of enactment of P.L.2001, c.315 and through June 30, 2004, in determining the two values required pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, the appraisal shall be made using not only the land use zoning but also the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal (I) in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (ii) in effect on November 3, 1998 as if those rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards are still in effect at the time of proposed acquisition.

    (2) The requirements of this subsection shall be in addition to any other requirements of law, rule, or regulation not inconsistent therewith.

    (3) This subsection shall not:

    (a) apply if the land use zoning of the lands at the time of proposed acquisition, and the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands at the time of proposed acquisition, have not changed since November 3, 1998;

    (b) apply in the case of lands to be acquired with federal moneys in whole or in part;

    (c) apply in the case of lands to be acquired in accordance with subsection e. of this section;

    (d) apply to projects funded using constitutionally dedicated moneys appropriated pursuant to the annual appropriations act for State fiscal year 2000 (P.L.1999, c.138); or

    (e) alter any requirements to disclose information to a landowner pursuant to the "Eminent Domain Act of 1971," P.L.1971, c.361 (C.20:3-1 et seq.).

    h. Any farmland for which a development easement or fee simple title has been acquired pursuant to section 37 of this act shall be entitled to the benefits conferred by the "Right to Farm Act," P.L.1983, c.31 (C.4:1C-1 et al.) and the "Agriculture Retention and Development Act," P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-11 et al.).

    i. (1) Commencing July 1, 2004 and until five years after the date of enactment of P.L.2001, c.315, when the committee, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization seeks to acquire a development easement on farmland or the fee simple title to farmland for farmland preservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part, it shall conduct or cause to be conducted an appraisal or appraisals of the value of the lands that shall be made using the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal (a) in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (b) in effect on November 3, 1998 as if those rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards are still in effect at the time of proposed acquisition. The higher of those two values shall be utilized by the committee, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization as the basis for negotiation with the landowner with respect to the acquisition price for the lands. The landowner shall be provided with both values determined pursuant to this paragraph. A landowner may waive any of the requirements of this paragraph and may agree to sell the lands for less than the values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    (2) The requirements of this subsection shall be in addition to any other requirements of law, rule, or regulation not inconsistent therewith.

    (3) This subsection shall not:

    (a) apply if the Department of Environmental Protection wastewater, water quality and watershed management rules and regulations and associated requirements and standards applicable to the lands at the time of proposed acquisition have not changed since November 3, 1998;

    (b) apply in the case of lands to be acquired with federal moneys in whole or in part;

    (c) apply in the case of lands to be acquired in accordance with subsection e. of this section; or

    (d) alter any requirements to disclose information to a landowner pursuant to the "Eminent Domain Act of 1971," P.L.1971, c.361 (C.20:3-1 et seq.).

    j. (1) Commencing on the date of enactment of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) and until five years after that date, when the committee, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization seeks to acquire a development easement on farmland or the fee simple title to farmland for farmland preservation purposes in the Highlands preservation area using constitutionally dedicated moneys in whole or in part, it shall conduct or cause to be conducted an appraisal or appraisals of the value of the lands that shall be made using (a) the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) and the provisions of section 31 of that act applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal and in effect at the time of proposed acquisition, and (b) the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to any environmental land use or water law applicable to the lands subject to the appraisal and in effect on the day before the date of enactment of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill). The higher of those two values shall be utilized by the committee, a local government unit, or a qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organization as the basis for negotiation with the landowner with respect to the acquisition price for the lands. The landowner shall be provided with both values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    A landowner may waive any of the requirements of this paragraph and may agree to sell the lands for less than the values determined pursuant to this paragraph.

    The provisions of this paragraph shall be applicable only to lands the owner of which at the time of proposed acquisition is the same person who owned the lands on the date of enactment of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) and who has owned the lands continuously since that enactment date, is an immediate family member of that person, or is a farmer as defined by the committee.

    (2) A landowner whose lands are subject to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall choose to have the lands appraised in accordance with this subsection or in accordance with the provisions of either subsection g. or subsection i. of this section to the extent that the subsection is applicable and has not expired.

    (3) The requirements of this subsection shall be in addition to any other requirements of law, rule, or regulation not inconsistent therewith.

    (4) This subsection shall not:

    (a) apply in the case of lands to be acquired with federal moneys in whole or in part; or

    (b) alter any requirements to disclose information to a landowner pursuant to the "Eminent Domain Act of 1971," P.L.1971, c.361 (C.20:3-1 et seq.).

    (5) For the purposes of this subsection:

    "Environmental land use or water law" means the "Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act," P.L.1987, c.156 (C.13:9B-1 et seq.), the "Water Supply Management Act," P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et seq.), the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), "The Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (1954)," P.L.1954, c.199 (C.58:11-23 et seq.), the "Water Quality Planning Act," P.L.1977, c.75 (C.58:11A-1 et seq.), the "Safe Drinking Water Act," P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et seq.), or the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.);

    "Highlands preservation area" means the preservation area in the Highlands Region as defined pursuant to section of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill); and

    "Immediate family member" means spouse, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister, whether the individual is related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

    [j.] k. The committee and the Department of Environmental Protection, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), shall jointly adopt rules and regulations that establish standards and requirements regulating any improvement on lands acquired by the State for farmland preservation purposes using constitutionally dedicated moneys to assure that any improvement does not diminish the protection of surface water or groundwater resources.

    Any rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this subsection shall not apply to improvements on lands acquired prior to the adoption of the rules and regulations.

    l. The committee shall consult with and solicit recommendations from the Highland Water Protection and Planning Council established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) concerning farmland preservation strategies and acquisition plans in the Highlands Region as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.2002, c.76, s.6)

 

    54. Section 13 of P.L.1974, c.118 (C.13:13A-13) is amended to read as follows:

    13. a. The commission shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, and, after a public hearing, or public hearings, and pursuant to the provisions provided for in subsection 13 b. of this act, adopt a master plan or portion thereof for the physical development of the park, which plan may include proposals for various stages in the future development of the park, or amend the master plan. The master plan shall include a report presenting the objectives, assumptions, standards and principles which are embodied in the various interlocking portions of the master plan. The master plan shall be a composite of the one or more written proposals recommending the physical development and expansion of the park either in its entirety or a portion thereof which the commission shall prepare after meetings with the governing bodies of the affected municipalities and counties, and any agencies and instrumentalities thereof.

    b. In preparing the master plan or any portion thereof or amendment thereto the commission shall give due consideration to: (1) the function of the canal as a major water supply facility in the State; (2) the necessity to provide recreational activities to the citizens of this State, including but not limited to, facilities, design capacities, and relationship to other available recreational areas; (3) existing historical sites and potential restorations or compatible development; (4) the range of uses and potential uses of the canal in the urban environments of the older, intensively developed communities through which it passes; and (5) designated wilderness areas to be kept as undeveloped, limited-access areas restricted to canoeing and hiking. In preparing the master plan or any portion thereof or amendment thereto the commission shall consider existing patterns of development and any relevant master plan or other plan of development, and shall insure widespread citizen involvement and participation in the planning process.

    c. The commission shall act in support of local suggestions or desires to complement the park master plan. Consultation, planning, and technical expertise will be made available to local planning bodies that wish to implement land-use policy to enhance the park area. The commission shall act on or refer complaints by citizens' groups or private residents who discover hazardous situations, pollution, or evidence of noncompliance with use regulations.

    d. The commission shall review and approve, reject or modify, any State project planned or State permits issued in the park, and submit its decision to the Governor.

    e. The commission shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), on any provision of the park master plan that may impact upon or otherwise affect the Highlands Region or the Highlands regional master plan, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and any such provision shall be consistent with the Highlands regional master plan adopted by the council pursuant to that act.

(cf: P.L.1974, c.118, s.13)

 

    55. Section 14 of P.L.1974, c.118 (C.13:13A-14) is amended to read as follows:

    14. a. The commission shall determine, after a public hearing, or public hearings held in Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, and Middlesex counties respectively, the extent and limits of the region to be designated the review zone. Any subsequent modification of [said] the review zone shall be made by the commission only after public hearings in the county or counties in which [such] the modification is to be made. All public hearings required pursuant to this section shall be held only after giving prior notice thereof by public advertisement once each week for [2] two consecutive weeks in such newspaper or newspapers selected by the chairman of the commission as will best give notice thereof. The last publication of such notice shall be not less than 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing.

    b. The commission shall approve all State actions within the review zone that impact on the park, and insure that these actions conform as nearly as possible to the commission's master plan and relevant local plans or initiatives. The State actions which the commission shall review will include the operations of the Division of Water Resources concerning water supply and quality; the Division of Parks and Forestry in developing recreation facilities; and the activities of any other State department or agency that might affect the park.

    c. The commission shall review and approve, reject, or modify any project within the review zone. The initial application for a proposed project within the zone shall be submitted by the applicant to the appropriate municipal reviewing agency. If approved by the agency, the application shall be sent to the commission for review. The commission shall review each proposed project in terms of its conformity with, or divergence from, the objectives of the commission's master plan and shall: (1) advise the appropriate municipal reviewing agency that the project can proceed as proposed; (2) reject the application and so advise the appropriate municipal reviewing agency and the governing body of the municipality; or (3) require modifications or additional safeguards on the part of the applicant, and return the application to the appropriate municipal reviewing agency, which shall be responsible for insuring that these conditions are satisfied before issuing a permit. If no action is taken by the commission within a period of 45 days from the date of submission of the application to the commission by the municipal reviewing agency, this shall constitute an approval by the commission. The commission's decision shall be final and binding on the municipality, and the commission may, in the case of any violation or threat of a violation of a commission's decision by a municipality, or by the appropriate municipal reviewing agency, as the case may be, institute civil action (1) for injunctive relief; (2) to set aside and invalidate a decision made by a municipality in violation of this subsection; or (3) to restrain, correct or abate such violation. As used herein: (1) "project" means any structure, land use change, or public improvements for which a permit from, or determination by, the municipality is required, which shall include, but not be limited to, building permits, zoning variances, and excavation permits; and (2) "agency" means any body or instrumentality of the municipality responsible for the issuance of permits or the approval of projects, as herein defined, which shall include, but not be limited to, governing bodies, planning and zoning boards, building inspectors, managers and municipal engineers.

    d. To the extent that any action the commission takes pursuant to this section may impact upon or otherwise affect the Highlands Region or the Highlands regional master plan, as defined in section 3 of P.L.    , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), the commission shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C.    ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and any such action taken shall be consistent with Highland regional master plan adopted by the council pursuant to that act.

(cf: P.L.1974, c.118, s.14)

 

    56. Section 2 of P.L.1997, c.144 (C.27:5-9.1) is amended to read as follows:

    2. Any billboard or outdoor advertising sign licensed and permitted pursuant to the "Roadside Sign Control and Outdoor Advertising Act," P.L.1991, c.413 (C.27:5-5 et seq.), and proposed to be erected on or above any State right-of-way or any real property of the department shall be subject to local government zoning ordinances, applicable local government building permit requirements, and in the pinelands area, shall be subject to the provisions of the comprehensive management plan prepared and adopted by the Pinelands Commission pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-8), and in the Highlands Region, shall be subject to the provisions of the "Highland Water Protection and Planning Act," P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and the Highlands regional master plan adopted by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council pursuant to section 8 of that act .

(cf: P.L.1997, c.144, s.2)

 

    57. R.S.32:14-5 is amended to read as follows:

    32:14-5. a. Palisades Interstate Park Commission shall, from time to time, select and locate such lands lying between the top or steep edge of the Palisades or the crest of the slope in places where the steep Palisade rocks are absent and the high-water line of the Hudson river, from the New York State line on the north, to a line beginning at the intersection of the southern line of the old Fort Lee dock or landing with the high-water line of the Hudson river and running thence in a westerly direction and at right angles to said high-water line of the Hudson river to the east side of the river road running from Edgewater to Fort Lee, in Bergen county, on the south, and such lands or rights in lands belonging to persons other than the State, as may lie between the exterior bulkhead line established in the Hudson river and the high-water line of the Hudson river, as may, in the opinion of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, be proper and necessary to be reserved for the purpose of establishing a park and thereby preserving the scenic beauty of the Palisades.

    b. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, in cooperation with the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission and in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, may, from time to time, select and locate such lands lying within the Highlands or Skylands areas of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Warren counties in the State of New Jersey, including lands in those areas lying within the North Jersey Water Supply District, as may, in the opinion of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, in consultation with the department and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, be proper and necessary to be reserved for establishing a park:

    (1) to preserve the scenic beauty of those areas;

    (2) for the purposes of recreation and conservation, which shall include hunting and fishing, or historic preservation; or

    (3) for the purposes of watershed conservation or protecting, maintaining, or enhancing the quality and quantity of water supplies.

    c. Except as authorized for the purposes specified by R.S.32:15-1 et seq. and R.S.32:16-1 et seq. with regard to the location, construction, maintenance, and operation of the Henry Hudson Drive and the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Bergen county, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission shall not acquire by condemnation any lands described in subsections a. and b. of this section. Any such lands shall be acquired by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission only through a sale by a willing seller.

(cf: P.L.1995, c.274, s.2)

 

    58. Section 5 of P.L.1999, c.402 (C.32:20A-5) is amended to read as follows:

    5. a. The duties of the commission shall be to:

    [a.] (1) assess present and projected development, land use, and land management practices and patterns, and identify actual and potential environmental threats and problems, around Greenwood Lake and within its watershed, and determine the effects of those practices and patterns, threats, and problems upon the natural, scenic, and recreational resources of Greenwood Lake and its watershed;

    [b.] (2) develop recommended regulations, procedures, policies, planning strategies, and model ordinances and resolutions pertaining to the protection, preservation, maintenance, management, and enhancement of Greenwood Lake and its watershed, which would be implemented as appropriate on a voluntary basis by those entities with representatives on the commission;

    [c.] (3) coordinate environmental clean up, maintenance, and protection efforts undertaken, for the benefit of Greenwood Lake and its watershed, by those entities with representatives on the commission;

    [d.] (4) coordinate with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's watershed management program for the area that includes Greenwood Lake;

    [e.] (5) recommend appropriate state legislation and administrative action pertaining to the protection, preservation, maintenance, management, and enhancement of Greenwood Lake and its watershed;

    [f.] (6) advocate, and where appropriate, act as a coordinating, distributing, or recipient agency for, federal, state, or private funding of environmental cleanup, maintenance, and protection projects for Greenwood Lake and its watershed, which projects may include the work of the commission; and

    [g.] (7) take such other action as may be appropriate or necessary to further the purpose of this act.

    b. The commission shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), in carrying out its duties as prescribed pursuant to subsection a. of this section. Any action taken by the commission that may impact upon or otherwise affect the Highlands preservation area, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), shall be consistent with the Highlands regional master plan adopted by the council pursuant to section 8 of that act.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.402, s.5)

 

    59. Section 19 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-28) is amended to read as follows:

    19. Preparation; contents; modification.

    a. The planning board may prepare and, after public hearing, adopt or amend a master plan or component parts thereof, to guide the use of lands within the municipality in a manner which protects public health and safety and promotes the general welfare.

    b. The master plan shall generally comprise a report or statement and land use and development proposals, with maps, diagrams and text, presenting, at least the following elements (1) and (2) and, where appropriate, the following elements (3) through (13):

    (1) A statement of objectives, principles, assumptions, policies and standards upon which the constituent proposals for the physical, economic and social development of the municipality are based;

    (2) A land use plan element (a) taking into account and stating its relationship to the statement provided for in paragraph (1) hereof, and other master plan elements provided for in paragraphs (3) through (13) hereof and natural conditions, including, but not necessarily limited to, topography, soil conditions, water supply, drainage, flood plain areas, marshes, and woodlands; (b) showing the existing and proposed location, extent and intensity of development of land to be used in the future for varying types of residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, educational and other public and private purposes or combination of purposes; and stating the relationship thereof to the existing and any proposed zone plan and zoning ordinance; and (c) showing the existing and proposed location of any airports and the boundaries of any airport safety zones delineated pursuant to the "Air Safety and Zoning Act of 1983," P.L.1983, c.260 (C.6:1-80 et seq.); and (d) including a statement of the standards of population density and development intensity recommended for the municipality;

    (3) A housing plan element pursuant to section 10 of P.L.1985, c.222 (C.52:27D-310), including, but not limited to, residential standards and proposals for the construction and improvement of housing;

    (4) A circulation plan element showing the location and types of facilities for all modes of transportation required for the efficient movement of people and goods into, about, and through the municipality, taking into account the functional highway classification system of the Federal Highway Administration and the types, locations, conditions and availability of existing and proposed transportation facilities, including air, water, road and rail;

    (5) A utility service plan element analyzing the need for and showing the future general location of water supply and distribution facilities, drainage and flood control facilities, sewerage and waste treatment, solid waste disposal and provision for other related utilities, and including any storm water management plan required pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1981, c.32 (C.40:55D-93 et seq.);

    (6) A community facilities plan element showing the existing and proposed location and type of educational or cultural facilities, historic sites, libraries, hospitals, firehouses, police stations and other related facilities, including their relation to the surrounding areas;

    (7) A recreation plan element showing a comprehensive system of areas and public sites for recreation;

    (8) A conservation plan element providing for the preservation, conservation, and utilization of natural resources, including, to the extent appropriate, energy, open space, water supply, forests, soil, marshes, wetlands, harbors, rivers and other waters, fisheries, endangered or threatened species wildlife and other resources, and which systemically analyzes the impact of each other component and element of the master plan on the present and future preservation, conservation and utilization of those resources;

    (9) An economic plan element considering all aspects of economic development and sustained economic vitality, including (a) a comparison of the types of employment expected to be provided by the economic development to be promoted with the characteristics of the labor pool resident in the municipality and nearby areas and (b) an analysis of the stability and diversity of the economic development to be promoted;

    (10) A historic preservation plan element: (a) indicating the location and significance of historic sites and historic districts; (b) identifying the standards used to assess worthiness for historic site or district identification; and (c) analyzing the impact of each component and element of the master plan on the preservation of historic sites and districts;

    (11) Appendices or separate reports containing the technical foundation for the master plan and its constituent elements;

    (12) A recycling plan element which incorporates the State Recycling Plan goals, including provisions for the collection, disposition and recycling of recyclable materials designated in the municipal recycling ordinance, and for the collection, disposition and recycling of recyclable materials within any development proposal for the construction of 50 or more units of single-family residential housing or 25 or more units of multi-family residential housing and any commercial or industrial development proposal for the utilization of 1,000 square feet or more of land; and

    (13) A farmland preservation plan element, which shall include: an inventory of farm properties and a map illustrating significant areas of agricultural land; a statement showing that municipal ordinances support and promote agriculture as a business; and a plan for preserving as much farmland as possible in the short term by leveraging monies made available by P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.) through a variety of mechanisms including, but not limited to, utilizing option agreements, installment purchases, and encouraging donations of permanent development easements.

    c. The master plan and its plan elements may be divided into subplans and subplan elements projected according to periods of time or staging sequences.

    d. The master plan shall include a specific policy statement indicating the relationship of the proposed development of the municipality, as developed in the master plan to (1) the master plans of contiguous municipalities, (2) the master plan of the county in which the municipality is located, (3) the State Development and Redevelopment Plan adopted pursuant to the "State Planning Act," sections 1 through 12 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et seq.) and (4) the district solid waste management plan required pursuant to the provisions of the "Solid Waste Management Act," P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-1 et seq.) of the county in which the municipality is located.

    In the case of a municipality situated within the Highlands Region, as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), the master plan shall include a specific policy statement indicating the relationship of the proposed development of the municipality, as developed in the master plan, to the Highlands regional master plan adopted pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.1999, c.180, s.2)

 

    60. R.S.48:3-7 is amended to read as follow:

    48:3-7. a. No public utility shall, without the approval of the board, sell, lease, mortgage or otherwise dispose of or encumber its property, franchises, privileges or rights, or any part thereof; or merge or consolidate its property, franchises, privileges or rights, or any part thereof, with that of any other public utility.

    Where, by the proposed sale, lease or other disposition of all or a substantial portion of its property, any franchise or franchises, privileges or rights, or any part thereof or merger or consolidation thereof as set forth herein, it appears that the public utility or a wholly owned subsidiary thereof may be unable to fulfill its obligation to any employees thereof with respect to pension benefits previously enjoyed, whether vested or contingent, the board shall not grant its approval unless the public utility seeking the board's approval for such sale, lease or other disposition assumes such responsibility as will be sufficient to provide that all such obligations to employees will be satisfied as they become due.

    Every sale, mortgage, lease, disposition, encumbrance, merger or consolidation made in violation of this section shall be void.

    Nothing herein shall prevent the sale, lease or other disposition by any public utility of any of its property in the ordinary course of business, nor require the approval of the board to any grant, conveyance or release of any property or interest therein heretofore made or hereafter to be made by any public utility to the United States, State or any county or municipality or any agency, authority or subdivision thereof, for public use.

    The approval of the board shall not be required to validate the title of the United States, State or any county or municipality or any agency, authority or subdivision thereof, to any lands or interest therein heretofore condemned or hereafter to be condemned by the United States, State or any county or municipality or any agency, authority or subdivision thereof for public use.

    b. Notwithstanding any law, rule, regulation or order to the contrary, an autobus public utility regulated by and subject to the provisions of Title 48 of the Revised Statutes may, without the approval of the Department of Transportation, sell, lease, mortgage or otherwise dispose of or encumber its property, or any part thereof, except that approval of the Department of Transportation shall be required for the following:

    (1) the sale of 60% or more of its property within a 12-month period;

    (2) a merger or consolidation of its property, franchises, privileges or rights; or

    (3) the sale of any of its franchises, privileges or rights.

    Notice of the sale, purchase or lease of any autobus or other vehicle subject to regulation under Title 48 of the Revised Statutes shall be provided to the Department of Transportation as the department shall require.

    c. Except as otherwise provided in subsection e. of this section, no solid waste collector as defined in section 3 of P.L.1970, c.40 (C.48:13A-3) shall, without the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection:

    (1) sell, lease, mortgage or otherwise dispose of or encumber its property, including customer lists; or

    (2) merge or consolidate its property, including customer lists, with that of any other person or business concern, whether or not that person or business concern is engaged in the business of solid waste collection or solid waste disposal pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1970 c.39 (C.13:1E-1 et seq.), P.L.1970, c.40 (C.48:13A-1 et seq.), P.L.1991, c.381 (C.48:13A-7.1 et al.) or any other act.

    d. Any solid waste collector seeking approval for any transaction enumerated in subsection c. of this section shall file with the department, on forms and in a manner prescribed by the department, a notice of intent at least 30 days prior to the completion of the transaction.

    (1) The department shall promptly review all notices filed pursuant to this subsection. The department may, within 30 days of receipt of a notice of intent, request that the solid waste collector submit additional information to assist in its review if it deems that such information is necessary. If no such request is made, the transaction shall be deemed to have been approved. In the event that additional information is requested, the department shall outline, in writing, why it deems such information necessary to make an informed decision on the impact of the transaction on effective competition.

    (2) The department shall approve or deny a transaction within 60 days of receipt of all requested information. In the event that the department fails to take action on a transaction within the 60-day period specified herein, then the transaction shall be deemed to have been approved.

    (3) The department shall approve a transaction unless it makes a determination pursuant to the provisions of section 19 of P.L.1991, c.381 (C.48:13A-7.19) that the proposed sale, lease, mortgage, disposition, encumbrance, merger or consolidation would result in a lack of effective competition.

    The department shall prescribe and provide upon request all necessary forms for the implementation of the notification requirements of this subsection.

    e. (1) Any solid waste collector may, without the approval of the department, purchase, finance or lease any equipment, including collection or haulage vehicles.

    (2) Any solid waste collector may, without the approval of the department, sell or otherwise dispose of its collection or haulage vehicles; except that no solid waste collector shall, without the approval of the department in the manner provided in subsection d. of this section, sell or dispose of 33% or more of its collection or haulage vehicles within a 12-month period.

    f. (1) The owner or operator of a privately-owned sanitary landfill facility may, without the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection, sell or otherwise dispose of its assets except that the prior approval of the department shall be required (a) to sell all assets associated with the sanitary landfill facility or a portion thereof sufficient to transfer the operation of the sanitary landfill facility to a new owner or operator; (b) to sell a controlling ownership interest in the sanitary landfill facility; or (c) to merge or consolidate its property with that of any other person or business concern, whether or not that person or business concern is engaged in the business of solid waste disposal pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-1 et seq.), P.L.1970, c.40 (C.48:13A-1 et seq.) or any other act.

    (2) Any owner or operator seeking approval for any transaction enumerated in this subsection shall file with the department an application therefor, on forms and in a manner prescribed by the department. The department shall promptly review all applications filed pursuant to this subsection and shall serve requests for information regarding any transaction within 30 days following the filing of an application if the department deems that such information is necessary. The department shall approve or deny the transaction within 60 days of receipt of all requested information. In the event that the department fails to take action on a transaction within the 60-day period specified herein, then the transaction shall be deemed to have been approved.

    As used in this section, "business concern" means any corporation, association, firm, partnership, sole proprietorship, trust or other form of commercial organization; and "privately-owned sanitary landfill facility" means a commercial sanitary landfill facility which is owned and operated by a private person, corporation or other organization and includes all appurtenances and related improvements used at the site for the transfer, processing or disposal of solid waste.

    g. No public water utility shall sell or otherwise convey any land it owns that is located in the Highlands Region, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and is utilized for the purpose of protecting a public water supply, except as may be allowed by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, with the concurrence of the board, only for the purposes authorized pursuant to section 27 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.2003, c.169, s.17)

 

    61. Section 1 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196) is amended to read as follows:

    1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

    a. New Jersey, the nation's most densely populated State, requires sound and integrated Statewide planning and the coordination of Statewide planning with local and regional planning in order to conserve its natural resources, revitalize its urban centers, protect the quality of its environment, and provide needed housing and adequate public services at a reasonable cost while promoting beneficial economic growth, development and renewal;

    b. Significant economies, efficiencies and savings in the development process would be realized by private sector enterprise and by public sector development agencies if the several levels of government would cooperate in the preparation of and adherence to sound and integrated plans;

    c. It is of urgent importance that the State Development Guide Plan be replaced by a State Development and Redevelopment Plan designed for use as a tool for assessing suitable locations for infrastructure, housing, economic growth and conservation;

    d. It is in the public interest to encourage development, redevelopment and economic growth in locations that are well situated with respect to present or anticipated public services and facilities, giving appropriate priority to the redevelopment, repair, rehabilitation or replacement of existing facilities and to discourage development where it may impair or destroy natural resources or environmental qualities that are vital to the health and well-being of the present and future citizens of this State;

    e. A cooperative planning process that involves the full participation of State, regional, county and local governments as well as other public and private sector interests will enhance prudent and rational development, redevelopment and conservation policies and the formulation of sound and consistent regional plans and planning criteria;

    f. Since the overwhelming majority of New Jersey land use planning and development review occurs at the local level, it is important to provide local governments in this State with the technical resources and guidance necessary to assist them in developing land use plans and procedures which are based on sound planning information and practice, and to facilitate the development of local plans which are consistent with State and regional plans and programs;

    g. An increasing concentration of the poor and minorities in older urban areas jeopardizes the future well-being of this State, and a sound and comprehensive planning process will facilitate the provision of equal social and economic opportunity so that all of New Jersey's citizens can benefit from growth, development and redevelopment;

    h. An adequate response to judicial mandates respecting housing for low- and moderate-income persons requires sound planning to prevent sprawl and to promote suitable use of land; and

    i. These purposes can be best achieved through the establishment of a State planning commission consisting of representatives from the executive and legislative branches of State government, local government, the general public and the planning community.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.398, s.1)

 

    62. Section 4 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-199) is amended to read as follows:

    4. The commission shall:

    a. Prepare and adopt within 36 months after the enactment of [this act] P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et al.) , and revise and readopt at least every three years thereafter, the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, which shall provide a coordinated, integrated and comprehensive plan for the growth, development, renewal and conservation of the State and its regions and which shall identify areas for growth, agriculture, open space conservation and other appropriate designations;

    b. Prepare and adopt as part of the plan a long-term Infrastructure Needs Assessment, which shall provide information on present and prospective conditions, needs and costs with regard to State, county and municipal capital facilities, including water, sewerage, transportation, solid waste, drainage, flood protection, shore protection and related capital facilities;

    c. Develop and promote procedures to facilitate cooperation and coordination among State agencies, regional entities, and local governments with regard to the development of plans, programs and policies which affect land use, environmental, capital and economic development issues;

    d. Provide technical assistance to local governments and regional entities in order to encourage the use of the most effective and efficient planning and development review data, tools and procedures;

    e. Periodically review State, regional, and local government planning procedures and relationships and recommend to the Governor and the Legislature administrative or legislative action to promote a more efficient and effective planning process;

    f. Review any bill introduced in either house of the Legislature which appropriates funds for a capital project and may study the necessity, desirability and relative priority of the appropriation by reference to the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, and may make recommendations to the Legislature and to the Governor concerning the bill; and

    g. Take all actions necessary and proper to carry out the provisions of [this act] P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et al.).

(cf: P.L.1987, c.308, s.1)

 

    63. Section 5 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-200) is amended to read as follows:

    5. The State Development and Redevelopment Plan shall be designed to represent a balance of development and conservation objectives best suited to meet the needs of the State. The plan shall:

    a. Protect the natural resources and qualities of the State, including, but not limited to, agricultural development areas, fresh and saltwater wetlands, flood plains, stream corridors, aquifer recharge areas, steep slopes, areas of unique flora and fauna, and areas with scenic, historic, cultural and recreational values;

    b. Promote development and redevelopment in a manner consistent with sound planning and where infrastructure can be provided at private expense or with reasonable expenditures of public funds. This should not be construed to give preferential treatment to new construction;

    c. Consider input from State, regional, county and municipal entities concerning their land use, environmental, capital and economic development plans, including to the extent practicable any State and regional plans concerning natural resources or infrastructure elements;

    d. Identify areas for growth, limited growth, agriculture, open space conservation and other appropriate designations that the commission may deem necessary;

    e. Incorporate a reference guide of technical planning standards and guidelines used in the preparation of the plan; and

    f. Coordinate planning activities and establish Statewide planning objectives in the following areas: land use, housing, economic development, transportation, natural resource conservation, agriculture and farmland retention, recreation, urban and suburban redevelopment, historic preservation, public facilities and services, and intergovernmental coordination.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.398, s.5)

 

    64. Section 6 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-201) is amended to read as follows:

    6. a. There is established in the Department of the Treasury the Office of State Planning. The director of the office shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The director shall supervise and direct the activities of the office and shall serve as the secretary and principal executive officer of the State Planning Commission.

    b. The Office of State Planning shall assist the commission in the performance of its duties and shall:

    (1) Publish an annual report on the status of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan which shall describe the progress towards achieving the goals of the plan, the degree of consistency achieved among municipal, county, regional, and State plans, the capital needs of the State, and progress towards providing housing where such need is indicated;

    (2) Provide planning service to other agencies or instrumentalities of State government, review the plans prepared by them, and coordinate planning to avoid or mitigate conflicts between plans;

    (3) Provide advice and assistance to regional, county and local planning units;

    (4) Review and comment on the plans of interstate agencies where the plans affect this State;

    (5) Compile quantitative current estimates and Statewide forecasts for population, employment, housing and land needs for development and redevelopment; and

    (6) Prepare and submit to the State Planning Commission, as an aid in the preparation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, alternate growth and development strategies which are likely to produce favorable economic, environmental and social results.

    c. The director shall ensure that the responsibilities and duties of the commission are fulfilled, and shall represent the commission and promote its activities before government agencies, public and private interest groups and the general public, and shall undertake or direct such other activities as the commission shall direct or as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of [this act] P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et al.).

    d. With the consent of the commission, the director shall assign to the commission from the staff of the office at least two full-time planners, a full-time liaison to local and county governments and regional entities, and such other staff, clerical, stenographic and expert assistance as [he] the director shall deem necessary for the fulfillment of the commission's responsibilities and duties.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.398, s.6)

 

    65. Section 7 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-202) is amended to read as follows:

    7. a. In preparing, maintaining and revising the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, the commission shall solicit and give due consideration to the plans, comments and advice of each county and municipality, State agencies designated by the commission, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and other local and regional entities. Prior to the adoption of each plan, the commission shall prepare and distribute a preliminary plan to each county planning board, municipal planning board and other requesting parties, including State agencies, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, and metropolitan planning organizations. Not less than 45 nor more than 90 days thereafter, the commission shall conduct a joint public informational meeting with each county planning board in each county and with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council for the purpose of providing information on the plan, responding to inquiries concerning the plan, and receiving informal comments and recommendations from county and municipal planning boards, local public officials, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, and other interested parties.

    b. The commission shall negotiate plan cross-acceptance with each county planning board, which shall solicit and receive any findings, recommendations and objections concerning the plan from local planning bodies. Each county planning board shall negotiate plan cross-acceptance among the local planning bodies within the county, unless it shall notify the commission in writing within 45 days of the receipt of the preliminary plan that it waives this responsibility, in which case the commission shall designate an appropriate entity, or itself, to assume this responsibility. Each board or designated entity shall, within ten months of receipt of the preliminary plan, file with the commission a formal report of findings, recommendations and objections concerning the plan, including a description of the degree of consistency and any remaining inconsistency between the preliminary plan and county and municipal plans. In any event, should any municipality's plan remain inconsistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan after the completion of the cross-acceptance process, the municipality may file its own report with the State Planning Commission, notwithstanding the fact that the [County Planning Board] county planning board has filed its report with the State Planning Commission. The term cross-acceptance means a process of comparison of planning policies among governmental levels with the purpose of attaining compatibility between local, county, regional, and State plans. The process is designed to result in a written statement specifying areas of agreement or disagreement and areas requiring modification by parties to the cross-acceptance.

    Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, any municipality or county in the Highlands Region, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), whose municipal master plan and development regulations or county master plan and associated regulations, respectively, have been approved by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council pursuant to sections 14 or 15 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) to be in conformance with the Highlands regional master plan adopted by the council pursuant to section 8 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) shall be exempt from the cross-acceptance process required by this subsection for those portions of the municipality or county lying within the Highlands Region.

    c. Upon consideration of the formal reports of the county planning boards, the commission shall prepare and distribute a final plan to county and municipal planning boards, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, and other interested parties. The commission shall conduct not less than six public hearings in different locations throughout the State for the purpose of receiving comments on the final plan. The commission shall give at least 30 days' public notice of each hearing in advertisements in at least two newspapers which circulate in the area served by the hearing and at least 30 days' notice to the governing body and planning board of each county and municipality in the area served by the hearing and to the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council for any area in the Highlands Region served by the hearing.

    d. Taking full account of the testimony presented at the public hearings, the commission shall make revisions in the plan as it deems necessary and appropriate and adopt the final plan by a majority vote of its authorized membership no later than 60 days after the final public hearing.

(cf: P.L.1998, c.109, s.1)

 

    66. Section 2 of P.L.1989, c.332 (C.52:18A-202.2) is amended to read as follows:

    2. a. The Office of State Planning in consultation with the Office of Economic Policy, shall utilize the following:

    (1) Conduct portions of these studies using its own staff;

    (2) Contract with other State agencies to conduct portions of these studies; and

    (3) Contract with an independent firm or an institution of higher learning to conduct portions of these studies.

    b. Any portion of the studies conducted by the Office of State Planning, or any other State agency, shall be subject to review by an independent firm or an institution of higher learning.

    c. The Assessment Study and the oversight review shall be submitted in the form of a written report to the State Planning Commission for distribution to the Governor, the Legislature, appropriate regional entities, and the governing bodies of each county and municipality in the State during the cross-acceptance process and prior to the adoption of the Final Plan.

    d. A period extending from at least 45 days prior to the first of six public hearings, which are required under the State Planning Act, P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et seq.), to 30 days following the last public hearing shall be provided for counties and municipalities to review and respond to the studies. Requests for revisions to the Interim Plan shall be considered by the State Planning Commission in the formulation of the Final Plan.

(cf: P.L.1989, c.332, s.2)

 

    67. Section 8 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-203) is amended to read as follows:

    8. The commission shall adopt rules and regulations to carry out its purposes, including procedures to facilitate the solicitation and receipt of comments in the preparation of the preliminary and final plan and to ensure a process for comparison of the plan with county and municipal master plans and regional plans, and procedures for coordinating the information collection, storage and retrieval activities of the various State agencies.

(cf: P.L1985, c.398, s.8)

 

    68. Section 9 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-204) is amended to read as follows:

    9. The commission shall be entitled to call to its assistance any personnel of any State agency, regional entity, or county, municipality or political subdivision thereof as it may require in order to perform its duties. The officers and personnel of any State agency, regional entity, or county, municipality or political subdivision thereof and any other person may serve at the request of the commission upon any advisory committee as the commission may create without forfeiture of office or employment and with no loss or diminution in the compensation, status, rights and privileges which they otherwise enjoy.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.398, s.9)

 

    69. Section 10 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-205) is amended to read as follows:

    10. Each State agency, regional entity, or county, municipality or political subdivision thereof shall make available to the commission any studies, surveys, plans, data and other materials or information concerning the capital, land use, environmental, transportation, economic development and human services plans and programs of the agency, entity, county, municipality or political subdivision.

(cf: P.L.1985, c.398, s.10)

 

    70. Section 11 of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-206) is amended to read as follows:

    11. a. The provisions of P.L.1985, c.398 (C.52:18A-196 et al.) shall not be construed to affect the plans and regulations of the Pinelands Commission pursuant to the "Pinelands Protection Act," P.L. 1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.) [or], the [Hackensack] New Jersey Meadowlands [Development] Commission pursuant to the "Hackensack Meadowlands Reclamation and Development Act," P.L.1968, c.404 (C.13:17-1 et seq.), or the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council pursuant to the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act," P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) for that portion of the Highlands Region lying within the preservation area as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C.    ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) . The State Planning Commission shall rely on the adopted plans and regulations of these entities in developing the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

    b. The State Planning Commission may adopt, after the enactment date of P.L.1993, c.190 (C.13:19-5.1 et al.), the coastal planning policies of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to P.L.1973, c.185 (C.13:19-1 et seq.), the coastal planning policies of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to subsection b. of section 17 of P.L.1973, c.185 (C.13:19-17) and any coastal planning policies of rules and regulations adopted pursuant to P.L.1973, c.185 (C.13:19-1 et seq.) thereafter as the State Development and Redevelopment Plan for the coastal area as defined in section 4 of P.L.1973, c.185 (C.13:19-4).

(cf: P.L.1993, c.190, s.19)

    71. Section 13 of P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-13) is amended to read as follows:

    13. a. The department shall prepare and adopt the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan, which plan shall be revised and updated at least once every five years.

    b. The plan shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:

    (1) An identification of existing Statewide and regional ground and surface water supply sources, both interstate and intrastate, and the current usage thereof;

    (2) Projections of Statewide and regional water supply demands for the duration of the plan;

    (3) Recommendations for improvements to existing State water supply facilities, the construction of additional State water supply facilities, and for the interconnection or consolidation of existing water supply systems;

    (4) Recommendations for the diversion or use of fresh surface or ground waters and saline surface or ground waters for aquaculture purposes;

    (5) Recommendations for legislative and administrative actions to provide for the maintenance and protection of watershed areas; and

    (6) Identification of lands purchased by the State for water supply facilities that currently are not actively used for water supply purposes, including, but not limited to, the Six Mile Run Reservoir Site, with recommendations as to the future use of these lands for water supply purposes within or outside of the planning horizon for the plan.

    c. Prior to adopting the plan, including any revisions and updates thereto, the department shall:

    (1) Prepare and make available to all interested persons a copy of the proposed plan or proposed revisions and updates to the current plan;

    (2) Conduct public meetings in the several geographic areas of the State on the proposed plan or proposed revisions and updates to the current plan; and

    (3) Consider the comments made at these meetings, make any revisions to the proposed plan or proposed revisions and updates to the current plan as it deems necessary, and adopt the plan.

    d. Prior to the adoption of any revision to the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan pursuant to this section, the department shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council concerning the possible effects and impact of the plan upon the Highlands regional master plan and the water and other natural resources of the Highlands Region.

(cf: P.L.2003, c.251, s.2)

 

    72. Section 10 of P.L.1993, c.202 (C.58:1A-15.1) is amended to read as follows:

    10. No action taken by the department pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-1 et al.) or P.L.1993, c.202 (C.58:1A-7.3 et al.) shall be inconsistent with the provisions of the "Pinelands Protection Act," P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.) [or], the comprehensive management plan for the pinelands area adopted pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-8), the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act," P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), or the Highlands regional master plan adopted pursuant to section 8 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.1993, c.202, s.10)

 

    73. Section 6 of P.L.1981, c.293 (C.58:1B-6) is amended to read as follows:

    6. a. The authority is hereby empowered to design, initiate, acquire, construct, maintain, repair and operate projects or cause the same to be operated pursuant to a lease, sublease, or agreement with any person or governmental agency, and to issue bonds of the authority to finance these projects, payable from the revenues and other funds of the authority. All projects undertaken by the authority shall conform to the recommendations of the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan.

    b. The authority shall be subject to compliance with all State health and environmental protection statutes and regulations and any other statutes and regulations not inconsistent herewith. The authority may, upon the request of a governmental agency, enter into a contract to provide services for any project.

    c. The authority shall consult with the Water Supply Advisory Council from time to time prior to final action on any project or undertaking authorized pursuant to this section.

    d. The authority shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c.    (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), from time to time prior to final action on any project or undertaking authorized pursuant to this section in the Highlands Region, as defined in section 3 of P.L.    , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill). The provisions of section 17 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) shall apply to the authority.

(cf: P.L.1981, c.293, s.6)

 

    74. Section 7 of P.L.2000, c.175 (C.58:4B-7) is amended to read as follows:

    7. The Lake Hopatcong Commission shall, in conjunction with each Lake Hopatcong municipality, develop a stormwater and nonpoint source pollution management plan for the region. The stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution plan shall be designed to reduce siltation and prevent pollution caused by stormwater runoff or nonpoint sources that would otherwise degrade the water quality of Lake Hopatcong and its tributaries, interfere with water-based recreation, or adversely affect aquatic life. The goals and purposes of the plan shall be to improve the quality of stormwater runoff entering Lake Hopatcong, identify cost effective measures to control stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution, and identify funding mechanisms for implementation of such measures. The commission shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C.    ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), in developing the stormwater and nonpoint source pollution management plan pursuant to this section. Any plan developed pursuant to this section that may impact upon or otherwise affect the Highlands preservation area, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), shall be consistent with the Highlands regional master plan adopted by the council pursuant to section 8 of that act.

(cf: P.L.2000, c.175, s.7)

 

    75. Section 9 of P.L.2000, c.175 (C.58:4B-9) is amended to read as follows:

    9. Each municipality represented on the commission shall provide the commission notice of proposed amendments and revisions to municipal master plans, zoning and other ordinances governing land use and development, and applications for specific development projects, and request that the commission review and evaluate the proposed amendment, revision, or application to assess its potential impact upon Lake Hopatcong and its watershed and provide the commission's recommendations for appropriate action thereon. As part of the commission's review and evaluation, the commission shall consider the consistency of the amendment or revision with the Highlands regional master plan if it may impact upon or otherwise affect the Highlands preservation area, as defined in section 3 of P.L.    , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, established pursuant to section 4of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), on any such matter.

(cf: P.L.2000, c.175, s.9)

 

    76. R.S.58:5-12 is amended to read as follows:

    58:5-12. The district water supply commission shall thereupon proceed to formulate plans for obtaining a water supply or a new or additional water supply for [such] the municipality and any other municipalities that may desire water from such joint water supply, as provided for herein, and to estimate the cost thereof, the annual cost of operating the same, the probable share of the cost which each of the municipalities will be called upon to pay for its share of water supply and plant used in common with the other municipalities, and the cost of any distribution system, water supply or plant acquired or constructed for its individual use, and shall report [said] the plans to the municipalities, together with a form of contract, providing for the raising and payment of the necessary funds to meet the cost of acquisition and operation.

    If the plans to be formulated pursuant to this section involve obtaining water from the Highlands Region, as defined in section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), the district water supply commission shall consult with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) prior to moving forward with any such plans or entering into any such contracts. The provisions of section 17 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill) shall apply to the district water supply commission.

(cf: R.S.58:5-12)

 

    77. Section 1 of P.L.1993, c.351 (C.58:10A-7.2) is amended to read as follows:

    1. a. An application for a permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) for the discharge of groundwater to surface water involving a groundwater remedial action necessitated by a discharge from an underground storage tank containing petroleum products or a groundwater remedial action involving petroleum products, shall contain, in addition to a properly filled application form:

    (1) such documentation or other information on the permit application as may be prescribed by the department on a checklist made available to a prospective applicant;

    (2) if the discharge from the proposed groundwater remedial action is located within a wastewater service district or area of a local public entity, a certified statement that a request, dated at least 60 days prior to the filing of the permit application, had been made to the local public entity to discharge the groundwater into the wastewater collection or treatment facilities of that entity, and that no reply has been received from that entity, or a written statement by the local public entity, dated not more than 60 days prior to the filing of the permit application with the department, that the entity has approved or rejected a written request by the applicant to discharge the treated groundwater into the wastewater collection or treatment facilities of that entity. Notwithstanding that a local public entity has approved the request to discharge groundwater into its facilities, the department may approve the applicant's permit to discharge the groundwater to surface water upon a finding that it is in the public interest;

    (3) a certified statement that a copy of the completed application form along with a consent request, as prescribed in subsection b. of this section, have been filed with the clerk of the municipality in which the site of the proposed groundwater remedial action is located, and setting forth the date of the filing with the host municipality, which filing shall be made prior to, or concurrent with, the filing of the application with the department; [and]

    (4) within the pinelands area, documentation from the Pinelands Commission that the application is consistent with the requirements of the "Pinelands Protection Act," P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.) or any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto and section 502 of the "National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978" (Pub.L. 95-625); and

    (5) within the Highlands preservation area, documentation from the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council that the application is consistent with the requirements of the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act," P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and any rules and regulations and the Highlands regional master plan adopted pursuant thereto.

    b. The department shall prescribe the form and content of a request for consent filed with a municipality pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section. The municipal consent request shall be limited to an identification of all municipal approvals with which the applicant is required to comply, the status of any applications filed therefor, and whether or not the municipality consents to the application and the specific reasons therefor. The request for consent form shall also advise that documentation and other information relating to the application have been filed and are available for review at the department. A municipality receiving a request for consent form shall have 30 days from the date of receipt of a copy of the application and request for consent form to file with the department the information requested, and its consent of, or objections to, the application. Municipal consent or objection to a groundwater remedial action shall be by resolution of the governing body of the municipality unless the governing body has, by resolution, delegated such authority to a qualified officer or entity thereof, in which case the endorsement shall be signed by the designated officer or official of the entity. Notwithstanding that a municipality objects to a permit application or fails to file a consent or objection to the permit application, the department may approve the applicant's permit application to discharge groundwater to surface water.

    c. An application pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall be deemed complete, for the purposes of departmental review, within 30 days of the filing of the application with the department unless the department notifies the applicant, in writing, prior to expiration of the 30 days that the application has failed to satisfy one or more of the items identified in subsection a. of this section. If an application is determined to be complete, the department shall review and take final action on the completed application within 60 days from commencement of the review, or, if the parties mutually agree to a 30-day extension, within 90 days therefrom. The review period for a completed application shall commence immediately upon termination of the 30-day period, or upon determination by the department that the application is complete, whichever occurs first. If the department fails to take final action on a permit application for a general permit in the time frames set forth in this subsection, that general permit shall be deemed to have been approved by the department. The department shall review an application for a permit pursuant to subsection a. of this section and shall take action on that application pursuant to the time frames set forth in this subsection, notwithstanding that all of the municipal approvals have not been obtained, unless such approvals would materially affect the terms and conditions of the permit, except that in such instances the department may condition its approval of the application on the necessary municipal approvals being subject to the terms and conditions of the application.

    d. The department may issue a general permit for the discharge of groundwater to surface water pursuant to a groundwater remedial action of discharged petroleum products as provided in subsection a. of this section.

    e. (1) The department may not require a municipal consent of a treatment works application for a groundwater remedial action for which a permit application is submitted pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

    (2) If a completed application for a treatment works approval for a groundwater remedial action is filed with the department at the same time as an application for a general permit therefor, the department shall concurrently review the two applications, except that the review of the application for the treatment works approval for a groundwater remedial action shall not be subject to the time frames set forth in subsection c. of this section.

    f. The provisions of this section shall apply to applications filed on or after the effective date of this act, except that the Department of Environmental Protection may implement any of the provisions of this section prior to that date.

    g. The department may, in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this act.

    h. For purposes of this section:

    "General permit" means a permit issued by the department for similar discharges.

    "Groundwater remedial action" means the removal or abatement of one or more pollutants in a groundwater source.

    "Local public entity" means a sewerage authority established pursuant to P.L.1946, c.138 (C.40:14A-1 et seq.), a municipal authority established pursuant to P.L.1957, c.183 (C.40:14B-1 et seq.), the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners continued pursuant to R.S.58:14-2, a joint meeting established pursuant to R.S.40:63-68 et seq. or a local unit authorized to operate a sewerage facility pursuant to N.J.S.40A:26A-1 et seq., or any predecessor act.

    "Underground storage tank" shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of P.L.1986, c.102 (C.58:10A-22), except that as used herein underground storage tanks shall include:

    (1) farm underground storage tanks of 1,100 gallons or less capacity used for storing motor fuel for noncommercial purposes;

    (2) underground storage tanks used to store heating oil for on-site consumption in a nonresidential building with a capacity of 2,000 gallons or less; and

    (3) underground storage tanks used to store heating oil for on-site consumption in a residential building.

(cf: P.L.1993, c.351, s.1)

 

    78. Section 24 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-2) is amended to read as follows:

    24. a. The department shall, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations establishing criteria and minimum standards necessary for the submission, evaluation and approval of plans or results of preliminary assessments, site investigations, remedial investigations, and remedial action workplans and for the implementation thereof. The documents for the preliminary assessment, site investigation, remedial investigation, and remedial action workplan required to be submitted for a remediation, shall not be identical to the criteria and standards used for similar documents submitted pursuant to federal law, except as may be required by federal law. In establishing criteria and minimum standards for these terms the department shall strive to be result oriented, provide for flexibility, and to avoid duplicate or unnecessarily costly or time consuming conditions or standards.

    b. The regulations adopted by the department pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall provide that a person performing a remediation may deviate from the strict adherence to the regulations, in a variance procedure or by another method prescribed by the department, if that person can demonstrate that the deviation and the resulting remediation would be as protective of human health, safety, and the environment, as appropriate, as the department's regulations and that the health risk standards established in subsection d. of section 35 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-12) and any applicable environmental standards would be met. Factors to be considered in determining if the deviation should be allowed are whether the alternative method:

    (1) has been either used successfully or approved by the department in writing or similar situations;

    (2) reflects current technology as documented in peer-reviewed professional journals;

    (3) can be expected to achieve the same or substantially the same results or objectives as the method which it is to replace; and

    (4) furthers the attainment of the goals of the specific remedial phase for which it is used.

    The department shall make available to the public, and shall periodically update, a list of alternative remediation methods used successfully or approved by the department as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

    c. To the extent practicable and in conformance with the standards for remediations as provided in section 35 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10-12), the department shall adopt rules and regulations that allow for certain remedial actions to be undertaken in a manner prescribed by the department without having to obtain prior approval from or submit detailed documentation to the department. A person who performs a remedial action in the manner prescribed in the rules and regulations of the department, and who certifies this fact to the department, shall obtain a no further action letter from the department for that particular remedial action.

    d. The department shall develop regulatory procedures that encourage the use of innovative technologies in the performance of remedial actions and other remediation activities.

    e. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, all remediation standards and remedial actions that involve real property located in the pinelands area shall be consistent with the provisions of the "Pinelands Protection Act," P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.), any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and with section 502 of the "National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978," 16 U.S.C. s.471i.

    f. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, all remediation standards and remedial actions that involve real property located in the Highlands preservation area shall be consistent with the provisions of the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act," P.L.     , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and any rules and regulations and the Highlands regional master plan adopted pursuant thereto.

(cf: P.L.1997, c.278, s.10)

 

    79. Section 35 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-12) is amended to read as follows:

    35. a. The Department of Environmental Protection shall adopt minimum remediation standards for soil, groundwater, and surface water quality necessary for the remediation of contamination of real property. The remediation standards shall be developed to ensure that the potential for harm to public health and safety and to the environment is minimized to acceptable levels, taking into consideration the location, the surroundings, the intended use of the property, the potential exposure to the discharge, and the surrounding ambient conditions, whether naturally occurring or man-made.

    Until the minimum remediation standards for the protection of public health and safety as described herein are adopted, the department shall apply public health and safety remediation standards for contamination at a site on a case-by-case basis based upon the considerations and criteria enumerated in this section.

    The department shall not propose or adopt remediation standards protective of the environment pursuant to this section, except standards for groundwater or surface water, until recommendations are made by the Environment Advisory Task Force created pursuant to section 37 of P.L.1993, c.139. Until the Environment Advisory Task Force issues its recommendations and the department adopts remediation standards protective of the environment as required by this section, the department shall continue to determine the need for and the application of remediation standards protective of the environment on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the guidance and regulations of the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980," 42 U.S.C. s.9601 et seq. and other statutory authorities as applicable.

    The department may not require any person to perform an ecological evaluation of any area of concern that consists of an underground storage tank storing heating oil for on-site consumption in a one to four family residential building.

    b.    In developing minimum remediation standards the department shall:

    (1) base the standards on generally accepted and peer reviewed scientific evidence or methodologies;

    (2) base the standards upon reasonable assumptions of exposure scenarios as to amounts of contaminants to which humans or other receptors will be exposed, when and where those exposures will occur, and the amount of that exposure;

    (3) avoid the use of redundant conservative assumptions. The department shall avoid the use of redundant conservative assumptions by the use of parameters that provide an adequate margin of safety and which avoid the use of unrealistic conservative exposure parameters and which guidelines make use of the guidance and regulations for exposure assessment developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980," 42 U.S.C. s.9601 et seq. and other statutory authorities as applicable;

    (4) where feasible, establish the remediation standards as numeric or narrative standards setting forth acceptable levels or concentrations for particular contaminants; and

    (5) consider and utilize, in the absence of other standards used or developed by the Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the toxicity factors, slope factors for carcinogens and reference doses for non-carcinogens from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).

    c. (1) The department shall develop residential and nonresidential soil remediation standards that are protective of public health and safety. For contaminants that are mobile and transportable to groundwater or surface water, the residential and nonresidential soil remediation standards shall be protective of groundwater and surface water. Residential soil remediation standards shall be set at levels or concentrations of contamination for real property based upon the use of that property for residential or similar uses and which will allow the unrestricted use of that property without the need of engineering devices or any institutional controls and without exceeding a health risk standard greater than that provided in subsection d. of this section. Nonresidential soil remediation standards shall be set at levels or concentrations of contaminants that recognize the lower likelihood of exposure to contamination on property that will not be used for residential or similar uses , which will allow for the unrestricted use of that property for nonresidential purposes, and that can be met without the need of engineering controls. Whenever real property is remediated to a nonresidential soil remediation standard, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (3) of subsection g. of this section, the department shall require, pursuant to section 36 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-13), that the use of the property be restricted to nonresidential or other uses compatible with the extent of the contamination of the soil and that access to that site be restricted in a manner compatible with the allowable use of that property.

    (2) The department may develop differential remediation standards for surface water or groundwater that take into account the current, planned, or potential use of that water in accordance with the "Clean Water Act" (33 U.S.C. s.1251 et seq.) and the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.).

    d. The department shall develop minimum remediation standards for soil, groundwater, and surface water intended to be protective of public health and safety taking into account the provisions of this section. In developing these minimum health risk remediation standards the department shall identify the hazards posed by a contaminant to determine whether exposure to that contaminant can cause an increase in the incidence of an adverse health effect and whether the adverse health effect may occur in humans. The department shall set minimum soil remediation health risk standards for both residential and nonresidential uses that:

    (1) for human carcinogens, as categorized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, will result in an additional cancer risk of one in one million;

    (2) for noncarcinogens, will limit the Hazard Index for any given effect to a value not exceeding one.

    The health risk standards established in this subsection are for any particular contaminant and not for the cumulative effects of more than one contaminant at a site.

    e. Remediation standards and other remediation requirements established pursuant to this section and regulations adopted pursuant thereto shall apply to remediation activities required pursuant to the "Spill Compensation and Control Act," P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.), the "Water Pollution Control Act," P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), P.L.1986, c.102 (C.58:10A-21 et seq.), the "Industrial Site Recovery Act," P.L.1983, c.330 (C.13:1K-6 et al.), the "Solid Waste Management Act," P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-1 et seq.), the "Comprehensive Regulated Medical Waste Management Act," P.L.1989, c.34 (C.13:1E-48.1 et seq.), the "Major Hazardous Waste Facilities Siting Act," P.L.1981, c.279 (C.13:1E-49 et seq.), the "Sanitary Landfill Facility Closure and Contingency Fund Act," P.L.1981, c.306 (C.13:1E-100 et seq.), the "Regional Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility Siting Act," P.L.1987, c.333 (C.13:1E-177 et seq.), or any other law or regulation by which the State may compel a person to perform remediation activities on contaminated property. However, nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of the department to establish discharge limits for pollutants or to prescribe penalties for violations of those limits pursuant to P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.), or to require the complete removal of nonhazardous solid waste pursuant to law.

    f. (1) A person performing a remediation of contaminated real property, in lieu of using the established minimum soil remediation standard for either residential use or nonresidential use adopted by the department pursuant to subsection c. of this section, may submit to the department a request to use an alternative residential use or nonresidential use soil remediation standard. The use of an alternative soil remediation standard shall be based upon site specific factors which may include (1) physical site characteristics which may vary from those used by the department in the development of the soil remediation standards adopted pursuant to this section; or (2) a site specific risk assessment. If a person performing a remediation requests to use an alternative soil remediation standard based upon a site specific risk assessment, that person shall demonstrate to the department that the requested deviation from the risk assessment protocol used by the department in the development of soil remediation standards pursuant to this section is consistent with the guidance and regulations for exposure assessment developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980," 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq. and other statutory authorities as applicable. A site specific risk assessment may consider exposure scenarios and assumptions that take into account the form of the contaminant present, natural biodegradation, fate and transport of the contaminant, available toxicological data that are based upon generally accepted and peer reviewed scientific evidence or methodologies , and physical characteristics of the site, including, but not limited to, climatic conditions and topographic conditions. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to authorize the use of an alternative soil remediation standard in those instances where an engineering control is the appropriate remedial action, as determined by the department, to prevent exposure to contamination.

    Upon a determination by the department that the requested alternative remediation standard satisfies the department's regulations, is protective of public health and safety, as established in subsection d. of this section, and is protective of the environment pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the alternative residential use or nonresidential use soil remediation standard shall be approved by the department. The burden to demonstrate that the requested alternative remediation standard is protective rests with the person requesting the alternative standard and the department may require the submission of any documentation as the department determines to be necessary in order for the person to meet that burden.

    (2) The department may, upon its own initiative, require an alternative remediation standard for a particular contaminant for a specific real property site, in lieu of using the established minimum residential use or nonresidential use soil remediation standard adopted by the department for a particular contaminant pursuant to this section. The department may require an alternative remediation standard pursuant to this paragraph upon a determination by the department, based on the weight of the scientific evidence, that due to specific physical site characteristics of the subject real property, including, but not limited to, its proximity to surface water, the use of the adopted residential use or nonresidential use soil remediation standards would not be protective , or would be unnecessarily overprotective, of public health or safety or of the environment, as appropriate.

    g. The development, selection, and implementation of any remediation standard or remedial action shall ensure that it is protective of public health, safety, and the environment, as applicable, as provided in this section. In determining the appropriate remediation standard or remedial action that shall occur at a site, the department and any person performing the remediation, shall base the decision on the following factors:

    (1) Unrestricted use remedial actions, limited restricted use remedial actions and restricted use remedial actions shall be allowed except that unrestricted use remedial actions and limited restricted use remedial actions shall be preferred over restricted use remedial actions. The department, however, may not disapprove the use of a restricted use remedial action or a limited restricted use remedial action so long as the selected remedial action meets the health risk standard established in subsection d. of this section, and where, as applicable, is protective of the environment. The choice of the remedial action to be implemented shall be made by the person performing the remediation in accordance with regulations adopted by the department and that choice of the remedial action shall be approved by the department if all the criteria for remedial action selection enumerated in this section , as applicable, are met. The department may not require a person to compare or investigate any alternative remedial action as part of its review of the selected remedial action;

    (2) Contamination may, upon the department's approval, be left onsite at levels or concentrations that exceed the minimum soil remediation standards for residential use if the implementation of institutional or engineering controls at that site will result in the protection of public health, safety and the environment at the health risk standard established in subsection d. of this section and if the requirements established in subsections a., b., c. and d. of section 36 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-13) are met;

    (3) Real property on which there is soil that has not been remediated to the residential soil remediation standards, or real property on which the soil, groundwater, or surface water has been remediated to meet the required health risk standard by the use of engineering or institutional controls, may be developed or used for residential purposes, or for any other similar purpose, if (a) all areas of that real property at which a person may come into contact with soil are remediated to meet the residential soil remediation standards and (b) it is clearly demonstrated that for all areas of the real property, other than those described in subparagraph (a) above, engineering and institutional controls can be implemented and maintained on the real property sufficient to meet the health risk standard as established in subsection d. of this section;

    (4) Remediation shall not be required beyond the regional natural background levels for any particular contaminant. The department shall develop regulations that set forth a process to identify background levels of contaminants for a particular region. For the purpose of this paragraph "regional natural background levels" means the concentration of a contaminant consistently present in the environment of the region of the site and which has not been influenced by localized human activities;

    (5) Remediation shall not be required of the owner or operator of real property for contamination coming onto the site from another property owned and operated by another person, unless the owner or operator is the person who is liable for cleanup and removal costs pursuant to P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.);

    (6) Groundwater that is contaminated shall not be required to be remediated to a level or concentration for any particular contaminant lower than the level or concentration that is migrating onto the property from another property owned and operated by another person;

    (7) The technical performance, effectiveness and reliability of the proposed remedial action in attaining and maintaining compliance with applicable remediation standards and required health risk standards shall be considered. In reviewing a proposed remedial action, the department shall also consider the ability of the owner or operator to implement the proposed remedial action within a reasonable time frame without jeopardizing public health, safety or the environment;

    (8) The use of a remedial action for soil contamination that is determined by the department to be effective in its guidance document created pursuant to section 38 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-14), is presumed to be an appropriate remedial action if it is to be implemented on a site in the manner described by the department in the guidance document and applicable regulations and if all of the conditions for remedy selection provided for in this section are met. The burden to prove compliance with the criteria in the guidance document is with the person performing the remediation;

    (9) (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1997, c.278).

    The burden to demonstrate that a remedial action is protective of public health, safety and the environment, as applicable, and has been selected in conformance with the provisions of this subsection is with the person proposing the remedial action.

    The department may require the person performing the remediation to supply the information required pursuant to this subsection as is necessary for the department to make a determination.

    h. (1) The department shall adopt regulations which establish a procedure for a person to demonstrate that a particular parcel of land contains large quantities of historical fill material. Upon a determination by the department that large quantities of historic fill material exist on that parcel of land, there is a rebuttable presumption that the department shall not require any person to remove or treat the fill material in order to comply with applicable health risk or environmental standards. In these areas the department shall establish by regulation the requirement for engineering or institutional controls that are designed to prevent exposure of these contaminants to humans, that allow for the continued use of the property, that are less costly than removal or treatment, which maintain the health risk standards as established in subsection d. of this section, and, as applicable, are protective of the environment. The department may rebut the presumption only upon a finding by the preponderance of the evidence that the use of engineering or institutional controls would not be effective in protecting public health, safety, and the environment. The department may not adopt any rule or regulation that has the effect of shifting the burden of rebutting the presumption. For the purposes of this paragraph "historic fill material" means generally large volumes of non-indigenous material, no matter what date they were emplaced on the site, used to raise the topographic elevation of a site, which were contaminated prior to emplacement and are in no way connected with the operations at the location of emplacement and which include, but are not limited to, construction debris, dredge spoils, incinerator residue, demolition debris, fly ash, and non-hazardous solid waste. Historic fill material shall not include any material which is substantially chromate chemical production waste or any other chemical production waste or waste from processing of metal or mineral ores, residues, slags or tailings.

    (2) The department shall develop recommendations for remedial actions in large areas of historic industrial contamination. These recommendations shall be designed to meet the health risk standards established in subsection d. of this section, and to be protective of the environment and shall take into account the industrial history of these sites, the extent of the contamination that may exist, the costs of remedial actions, the economic impacts of these policies, and the anticipated uses of these properties. The department shall issue a report to the Senate Environment Committee and to the Assembly Agriculture and Waste Management Committee, or their successors, explaining these recommendations and making any recommendations for legislative or regulatory action.

    (3) The department may not, as a condition of allowing the use of a nonresidential use soil remediation standard, or the use of institutional or engineering controls, require the owner of that real property, except as provided in section 36 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-13), to restrict the use of that property through the filing of a deed easement, covenant, or condition.

    i. The department may not require a remedial action workplan to be prepared or implemented or engineering or institutional controls to be imposed upon any real property unless sampling performed at that real property demonstrates the existence of contamination above the applicable remediation standards.

    j. Upon the approval by the department of a remedial action workplan, or similar plan that describes the extent of contamination at a site and the remedial action to be implemented to address that contamination, the department may not subsequently require a change to that workplan or similar plan in order to compel a different remediation standard due to the fact that the established remediation standards have changed; however, the department may compel a different remediation standard if the difference between the new remediation standard and the remediation standard approved in the workplan or other plan differs by an order of magnitude. The limitation to the department's authority to change a workplan or similar plan pursuant to this subsection shall only apply if the workplan or similar plan is being implemented in a reasonable timeframe, as may be indicated in the approved remedial action workplan or similar plan.

    k. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, all remediation standards and remedial actions that involve real property located in the Pinelands area shall be consistent with the provisions of the "Pinelands Protection Act," P.L.1979, c.111 (C.13:18A-1 et seq.), any rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, and with section 502 of the "National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978," 16 U.S.C. s.471i; and all remediation standards and remedial actions that involve real property located in the Highlands preservation area shall be consistent with the provisions of the "Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act," P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), and any rules and regulations and the Highland regional master plan adopted pursuant thereto.

    l. Upon the adoption of a remediation standard for a particular contaminant in soil, groundwater, or surface water pursuant to this section, the department may amend that remediation standard only upon a finding that a new standard is necessary to maintain the health risk standards established in subsection d. of section 35 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-12) or to protect the environment, as applicable. The department may not amend a public health based soil remediation standard to a level that would result in a health risk standard more protective than that provided for in subsection d. of section 35 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-12).

    m. Nothing in P.L.1993, c.139 shall be construed to restrict or in any way diminish the public participation which is otherwise provided under the provisions of the "Spill Compensation and Control Act," P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.).

    n. Notwithstanding any provision of subsection a. of section 36 of P.L.1993, c.139 (C.58:10B-13) to the contrary, the department may not require a person intending to implement a remedial action at an underground storage tank facility storing heating oil for on-site consumption at a one to four family residential dwelling to provide advance notice to a municipality prior to implementing that remedial action.

    o. A person who has remediated a site pursuant to the provisions of this section, who was liable for the cleanup and removal costs of that discharge pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection c. of section 8 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11g), and who remains liable for the discharge on that site due to a possibility that a remediation standard may change, undiscovered contamination may be found, or because an engineering control was used to remediate the discharge, shall maintain with the department a current address at which that person may be contacted in the event additional remediation needs to be performed at the site. The requirement to maintain the current address shall be made part of the conditions of the no further action letter issued by the department.

(cf: P.L.1997, c.278, s.17)

 

    80. Section 1 of P.L.1999, c.225 (C.58:29-8) is amended to read as follows:

    1. a. There shall be appropriated each State fiscal year from the General Fund to each municipality within which any lands subject to the moratorium on the conveyance of watershed lands imposed pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1988, c.163, as amended by section 1 of P.L.1990, c.19, or subject to the prohibition on the sale or conveyance of certain public water supply lands prescribed pursuant to section 27 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (now before the Legislature as this bill), are located an amount of [$68.50] $35 per acre of such lands located within the municipality. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, the per acre amount of watershed moratorium or water supply protection offset aid prescribed by this section shall be adjusted annually in direct proportion to the increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers in the New York City area as reported by the United States Department of Labor. The adjustment shall become effective on July 1 of the year in which the adjustment is made.

    b. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section to the contrary, payments shall no longer be made pursuant thereto on the basis of the location within a municipality of lands subject to the moratorium on the conveyance of watershed lands imposed pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1988, c.163, as amended by section 1 of P.L.1990, c.19, if (1) those sections are repealed by law, or (2) the watershed land conveyance moratorium imposed pursuant to those sections is terminated by a final, unappealed order of a court of competent jurisdiction, whichever is sooner.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.225, s.1)

 

    81. Section 3 of P.L.1999, c.225 is amended to read as follows:

    3. This act shall take effect July 1, 1999 [and shall expire (1) on the repeal by law of section 1 of P.L.1988, c.163 and section 1 of P.L.1990, c.19, or (2) upon termination of the watershed land conveyance moratorium imposed pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1988, c.163 and section 1 of P.L.1990, c.19, by a final, unappealed order of a court of competent jurisdiction, whichever is sooner].

(cf: P.L.1999, c.225, s.3)

 

    82. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

I

 

    This bill would establish a comprehensive approach to the protection and preservation of the drinking water and natural resources of the New Jersey Highlands Region, which is the source of the drinking water of over half of the residents of New Jersey.

    The approach set forth in this bill consists essentially of four major components. First, the bill defines the New Jersey Highlands Region and divides it into a preservation area, in which development would be strictly regulated, and a planning area. Secondly, the bill establishes the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, which would be charged with preparing and implementing a regional master plan for the Highlands Region, with which municipalities and counties in the preservation area would be required to conform their master plans. Thirdly, the bill would require, upon the date of enactment, that any major development in the preservation area receive from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) a Highlands Preservation Area approval, which would consist of the related aspects of existing environmental land use and water permits as well as additional, statutorily prescribed environmentally protective land use and water protection requirements. This system would be in effect for nine months. Lastly, the bill would require the DEP to adopt, within nine months, immediately effective rules and regulations establishing a permanent Highlands permitting review program, incorporating the provisions of the Highlands Preservation Area approval program, and setting strict standards for reviewing major development in the preservation area.

    The bill also contains land owner equity provisions and a provision to provide State aid to offset decreases in property tax revenues in municipalities with land located in the preservation area, and authorizes the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council to establish and implement a transfer of development rights program. In addition, this bill prohibits any State or local public entity or public utility from selling any water supply protection lands in the Highlands Region, with certain exceptions.


II

 

    The New Jersey Highlands Region consists of about 800,000 acres, or about 1,250 square miles, of forests and hills stretching from Ringwood in the northeast to Phillipsburg in the southwest, across portions of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties and 90 municipalities, and offers unparalled opportunities for hiking, bird watching, fishing, and other naturalist and recreational activities.

    The Highlands Region is the location of a majority of the State's reservoirs, and its surface and ground water resources together provide drinking water for over half of the residents in New Jersey, many of whom do not live in the Highlands. The Highlands Region, because of its proximity to rapidly expanding suburban areas, is at serious risk of being fragmented and consumed by hop-scotch suburban development, with more than 3,000 acres per year being lost to development. The existing land use and environmental regulation system has shown itself to be unable to protect the water and natural resources of the Highlands Region against the environmental impacts of sprawl development. The comprehensive approach set forth in this bill would set the stage for the long-term protection of the potable water supplies of the Highlands Region.

 

III

 

    For the purposes of this bill the Highlands Region is defined as all the area within the 90 municipalities in Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties enumerated in section 7 of the bill. The preservation area of the Highlands Region, in which municipalities would be required to conform their master plans and development ordinances with the regional master plan developed by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and in which the strict DEP permitting requirements would apply, will be delineated based upon natural resource data assembled by the United States Forest Service, Rutgers, The State University, and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. That area will be translated to on-the-ground, and easily identified reference points, such as road descriptions, survey lines, and municipal boundaries, by May 1, 2004, or as soon thereafter as may be possible. This legislation will be amended before it is enacted into law to incorporate this narrative description of the preservation area as part of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.

    The planning area of the Highlands Region, in which municipal conformance with the council's regional master plan is optional, and in which the strict DEP permitting requirements would not apply, would consist of all that area of the Highlands Region not within the preservation area.

 

IV

 

    The first tier of water and natural resource protection for the Highlands Region established in this bill consists of a planning and preservation strategy developed and implemented at the local and regional level. In this light, the bill would establish the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, a 15-member body appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and charged with preparing and implementing a regional master plan for the Highlands Region. The membership of the council would consist of eight residents of the counties of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, or Warren, five of whom would be elected municipal officials and three of whom would be elected county officials. Of these eight people, there would be at least one resident from each of the counties. The other seven members of the council would consist of seven residents of the State. Members of the council would serve for terms of five years, and without compensation. The Governor would appoint the chairperson of the council, and the council would appoint an executive director. This bill allows the Governor to veto any action taken by the council.

    The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council would be required to adopt a regional master plan for the Highlands Region within 18 months of the council's first meeting. The goals of the regional master plan with respect to the preservation area would be to: protect, restore, and enhance the quality and quantity of surface and ground waters; preserve extensive and contiguous areas of land in their natural state, protect the contiguous forests, wetlands, vegetated stream corridors, steep slopes, and critical habitats; preserve farmland and historic resources; promote compatible agricultural, horticultural, recreational, and cultural land uses; and prohibit or limit to the maximum extent possible construction or development which is incompatible with the preservation of the Highlands.

    With respect to the planning area the goals of the regional master plan would be to: protect surface and ground waters; preserve to the maximum extent possible any environmentally sensitive lands; protect the essential character of the Highlands environment; preserve farmland and historic resources; and encourage appropriate development, redevelopment, and economic growth consistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan and smart growth strategies and principles.

    The regional master plan would consist of several components. Among these would be: a resource assessment which determines the amount and type of human development and activity which the ecosystem of the Highlands Region can sustain; a land use capability map for the preservation area based on the standards adopted by the DEP for the review of development in the preservation area; a preservation zone element identifying areas in the preservation area in which development would be prohibited; an element detailing minimum standards for municipal and county master plans and development regulations in the preservation area; an assessment which determines the amount and type of human development and activity which the ecosystem of the Highlands Region can sustain while still maintaining the overall ecological values thereof; an assessment of scenic, aesthetic, cultural, historic, open space, farm land, and outdoor recreation resources of the region; an assessment of opportunities for appropriate economic growth, development, and redevelopment; a financial component detailing the cost of implementing the regional master plan, including payments in lieu-of-taxes, and acquisition of lands for preservation or recreation and conservation purposes; a component to provide for local government and public input into the council's operations; and a coordination and consistency component which details the ways in which local, State, and federal programs and policies may best be coordinated to promote the goals and policies of the regional master plan.

    Within six months after the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council adopts the regional master plan, the governing body of each municipality and county located wholly or partially in the preservation area would be required to revise its master plan and development regulations to conform them with the requirements of the regional plan and to submit the revisions to the council. The council would be authorized to approve or disapprove the revisions and to require additional changes. If such a municipality or county in the preservation area does not conform its master plan and development regulations to the regional master plan, the council would be authorized to enforce the provisions of the regional master plan and to essentially enforce the "Municipal Land Use Law" in the municipality or county and issue stop construction orders. In addition, the council would have call up review authority over any local application for development in a municipality or county in the preservation area. Any municipality or county in the planning area may elect to conform its master plan and development regulations to the appropriate provisions of the regional master plan.

    In addition to the adoption of the regional master plan, the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council would be required to develop and implement a transfer of development rights program. This bill authorizes the council to use the existing State Transfer of Developments Rights Bank or to establish a bank specifically for the Highlands Region. The council would also be authorized to review significant capital projects of the State or local governments in the preservation area.

    This bill also establishes a mechanism under which any municipality in the preservation area would be entitled to State aid to compensate for any decrease in the aggregate amount of property tax revenues derived from the taxation of real property in that portion of the municipality located in the preservation area that is directly attributable to the implementation of the provisions of this bill. The council would annually calculate the amount to which each municipality is entitled , and would certify and transmit these amounts to the State Treasurer and to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs. The State Treasurer would hen include within the State Treasurer's annual budget request for State aid the amounts certified by the council.

    This bill would also direct the Attorney General to provide, when certain requirements have been met, legal representation to any requesting local government unit located in the Highlands Region in any cause of action filed against the local government unit and contesting an act or decision of the local government unit taken or made under authority granted pursuant to any provision of this bill or to the "Municipal Land Use Law," P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), R.S.40:27-1 et seq., or the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.).

 

V

 

    The second tier of water and natural resource protection for the preservation area of the Highlands Region established in this bill consists of the imposition of environmentally protective standards for the review and permitting of major development by the DEP. Most development of any significant impact currently requires one or more State level water and land use permits issued by the DEP under the authority of a wide umbrella of environmental laws and their accompanying rules and regulations. This bill would increase the standards imposed for the issuance of, and would coordinate and consolidate the review of, these permits for development in the preservation area of the Highlands Region. These more stringent standards would also be incorporated into the land use capability component of the regional master plan adopted by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, which would in turn be reflected in the revised municipal and county master plans and development regulations. Thus, in terms of the overall structure of this bill, these standards (the authorization for which is set forth in sections 31 to 35 of this bill) form a tie between the State and regional preservation approaches in this bill.

    This bill essentially directs the DEP to develop and enforce two chronologically sequential environmental permitting programs and standards in the preservation area of the Highlands. Both permitting programs and standards would apply to permits for major development. As used in this bill, "major development" means any non-residential development, any residential development disturbing one acre or more of land or increasing impervious surface by a quarter acre or more, and any residential development that does not meet these requirements but which does require an environmental land use or water permit. This bill defines an environmental land use or water permit to include a permit, approval, or other authorization issued pursuant to the "Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act," the "Water Supply Management Act," the "Water Pollution Control Act," "The Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (1954)," the "Water Quality Planning Act," the "Safe Drinking Water Act," or the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act;" or an approval for an individual subsurface sewage disposal system from a delegated local health agency pursuant to the "County Environmental Health Act."

    The first DEP permitting program would take effect upon enactment of the bill. Thereafter, any person proposing a major development in the preservation area would be required to receive a Highlands Preservation Area approval. This new approval would consist of the appropriate aspects of the regulatory requirements of existing environmental land use and water permits, as well as additional statutorily established standards in the bill that are self executing, which is to say that no rules and regulations would be required to implement them. These new requirements would require: that a 300-foot buffer, in which major development would be prohibited, be established adjacent to all Highlands open waters (which includes streams, wetlands, and other bodies of surface water); that the quality of all Highlands open waters be maintained and not degraded; that the review of a water diversion permit be triggered by a more than 50,000 gallon per day diversion (the current threshold for the rest of the State is more than 100,000 gallons); that a zero net fill requirement be met for flood hazard areas; that the antidegradation and other provisions applicable to category one waters be applied to Highlands open waters; that impervious surface of more than three percent of the land area of a site would be prohibited on existing lots; that development, excluding linear development, would be prohibited on steep slopes with a grade of 20% or greater; and that upland forest areas would not be disturbed, with certain exceptions . The Highlands Preservation Area approval program would be in effect for the first nine months following enactment of the bill.

    The second and permanent DEP permitting program for the preservation area, the Highlands permitting review program, would be adopted as immediately effective rules and regulations within nine months after enactment of the bill. These rules and regulations would be adopted without following the usual notice and comment provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," would be in effect for not more than one year, and would thereafter be adopted pursuant to the normal notice and comment provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act." These rules and regulations would establish a Highlands permitting review program, the structure and requirements for which would essentially track the requirements for the statutorily established Highlands Preservation Area approval. The bill provides, however, for special treatment by the Highlands permitting program of certain single family dwellings and for hardship waivers for certain single family dwellings. In addition, this bill would exempt from the requirement to obtain a Highlands permitting review any major development for which all DEP environmental land use and water permits and local permits and approvals have been obtained. This bill would authorize the DEP to issue general permits under the Highlands permitting review program, and authorizes the DEP to charge an application fee. This bill also sets forth detailed and environmentally protective guidelines that DEP must follow when reviewing and issuing a Highlands permitting review approval. This bill also includes a penalty section which allows the DEP to impose civil administrative penalties for certain violations of the bill or DEP's rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. A person who violates certain provisions of the bill or the DEP's rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto could also be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

 

VI

 

    This bill also contains provisions providing protection for the equity in land of landowners or farmers who decide to sell their property, or in the case of farmers a development easement, to the State, the State Agriculture Development Committee in the case of farmland, or a local government unit or a non-profit organization. In such cases this bill provides for a special appraisal process to account for any decrease in the value of the property which may have been caused by the regulatory requirements imposed by the bill. This appraisal system is modeled after that already provided for in law for the Green Acres and farmland preservation programs. Only landowners who have owned the subject land continuously from the date of enactment of this bill until the date of the proposed acquisition, with certain exceptions, would be eligible for the special appraisal system. In addition, any landowner would be required to choose between the appraisal system established in this bill or the two other existing appraisal systems currently in law.