SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 2528

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  DECEMBER 14, 2009

 

      The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 2528, with committee amendments. 

      As amended, the bill provides for the regulation of small wind energy systems by municipalities. Specifically, the bill prohibits municipalities from adopting ordinances or resolutions regarding the installation and operation of small wind energy systems that unreasonably limit such installations or unreasonably hinder the performance of such installations.

      The bill requires the Director of the Division of Codes and Standards in the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, to promulgate a technical bulletin which includes model municipal ordinances for the construction of small wind energy systems, after holding one or more public hearings and soliciting comments from interested parties. A copy of the technical bulletin shall be posted on the DCA’s Internet website.

      The bill provides that small wind energy systems shall be built to comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements.    

      As amended, the bill provides a procedure for deeming a small wind energy system to be abandoned, and for the withdrawal of the notice of abandonment or the removal of the system after the owner’s receipt of a notice of abandonment, as well as a procedure for notifying county planning boards when a proposed small wind energy system will have a regional impact.

      Finally, as amended, the bill provides that a permit applicant shall notify the owner of any property within 200 feet of a proposed small wind energy system by certified mail upon application for a building permit to construct any such system. Affected owners shall be afforded a 30-day comment period prior to the issuance of a zoning approval for such a building permit and shall have standing to appeal the granting of zoning approval. The cost of notification shall be borne by the applicant. The municipal zoning officer shall provide the local governing body notice of the application for the zoning approval that is prerequisite to the issuance of a building permit.

COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS:

      The committee amendments:

      1) Clarify that the regulation of small wind energy systems be consistent with the provisions of the State Uniform Construction Code;

      2)  Require that the technical bulletin regarding model municipal ordinances for construction of small wind energy systems be developed by DCA in consultation with the DEP and that that bulletin be posted on the DCA’s Internet website;

      3)  Charge the municipal zoning enforcement officer, rather than the local planning board, with responsibilities under the bill related to small wind energy systems deemed abandoned;

      4)   Require the permit applicant to notify the county planning board and the governing bodies of any adjoining municipality as well as any owners within 200 feet of the property of the permit application; and

      5)  Require that the permit applicant provide proof of providing such notices.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:

      The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) believes that the bill’s requirement that the director of DCA’s Division of Codes and Standards prepare a technical bulleting of model ordinances for small wind energy system construction could be met through the use of existing staff, and that the cost to the department of posting the bulletin on the Internet would be virtually zero.  At the local level, the bill’s new activity requirements are limited to (1) zoning enforcement officers’ notification to owners of a finding of small wind energy system abandonment, and (2) municipal planning and zoning board hearings of appeals of building permits to construct a small wind energy system.  The OLS notes that these activities are unlikely to require the hiring of additional local staff, and that any cost to local governments of performing these activities would not be significant.