Permit extension passes

TRENTON – The Assembly passed a bill (A1338) providing a permit extension that would enable businesses to move forward with construction projects in areas where development is currently restricted, largely for environmental reasons.

The bill passed overwhelmingly 65-7, with six abstentions.

Earlier this year at a Chamber of Commerce event, Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6) of Voorhees, spoke strongly for such an extension, so businesses would not have to pay thousands of dollars to go through a bureaucratic process of filing a permit they had previously gone through. He added the legislation could serve as an economic driver.

At today’s Assembly session, he called for supporting the bill

Assemblyman John McKeon, former chairman of the Assembly Environmental Committee, was against the legislation, citing that it could adversely affect the state’s water supply.

Assemblywoman Alison Littell-McHose described it as a good government bill.

“We have so little ability to grow in Sussex County,” she said, citing the county she represents. She said some  70 percent of the land there is restricted from development.

The bill will help grow the area’s economy, she said.

“It will provide some limited jobs, the ability to improve their quality of life, the ability to live near where they work.”

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick called it “reasonable,” saying it strikes the right balance between economic growth and environmental concerns.

“Congratulations Majority Leader,” he said.