Stormwater runoff bill cleared in committee

TRENTON – The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee passed, with amendments, a bill that would prohibit developers from constructing development projects that would cause stormwater runoff to be diverted onto nearby private property.

The vote Monday on A3724 was 4-0, with Assemblywoman Denise Coyle, (R-16), of Basking Ridge, and Assemblyman Scott Rudder, (R-8), of Medford, abstaining.

The original bill stated that it would prohibit any municipal and state entities from approving “a storm water management plan for a development that allows, in an emergency or otherwise, storm water runoff from the development to be diverted onto adjacent or nearby private property owned by another person.”

However, an amendment was added to the bill on Monday that would allow runoff to enter another property, so long as 1.) the amount of runoff entered is equal to the amount that entered the property prior to the development project and 2.) there is no soil erosion that is produced.

Groups representing builders and construction groups testified before the committee Monday, all of whom were against the bill.

Anthony Pizzutillo, who was representing the New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Industrial Office Properties, said the bill tries to “legislate engineering science.” He said such issues are better left handled by the Department of Environmental Protection, rather than the Legislature.

“There are unintended consequences (coming from the bill) that may be overlooked,” he said, citing such examples as negative impacts on drinking water. “It should be left to technical professions to determine storm water management.”

Jeff Kolakowski, the director of government affairs for the New Jersey Builders Association, said “we do feel this bill is unnecessary.”

Sara Bluhm, of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, said the group is already working on storm water management issues with the DEP, and is concerned about “many different laws” being created on the same issues.

Amy Hanson of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, who is also against the bill, said the legislation should be changed from adjacent properties to adjacent open space in order to protect public properties from storm water runoff.

Assemblyman John McKeon, (D-27), South Orange, said the bill isn’t intended to add more bureaucracy, adding that he is open to making the bill stronger.

Stormwater runoff bill cleared in committee