Post-Sandy bills on Energy Comm. agenda

TRENTON – Lawmakers will take time out Thursday from budget hearings to deal with some post-Sandy legislation.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee will deal with six bills and a resolution, most of which are directly related to the destruction from Superstorm Sandy last year.

Here is a rundown:

S2958: This bill would provide a person with a limited exemption from local land use restrictions when raising a structure to meet a new base flood elevation set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This exception would not be available for new construction.

S2599:   This bill would adjust the Eminent Domain Act so that when an easement is being acquired to allow for dune construction the increased value of the property must be factored in.

Applicable elements would include increased safety as a result of the dune work.

Also, any reduced value must be considered as a result of condemnation.

S2600: This bill deals with how shore protection projects are funded.

Funding must be consistent with a priority system set up by the Legislature and the bill directs the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt such a system.

The bill requires DEP to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for each project on the shore protection project priority list and demonstrate that it provides a net financial benefit to the state. 

S2601: This bill would allow the counties of Atlantic, Monmouth, Ocean, and Cape May to assume responsibility for maintenance of the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean on their borders.

This would grant those counties exceptions to the cap on tax hikes.

Counties might choose such local control in order to have uniform beach fees, for instance, and they could operate as a public utility for bond purposes.

S2602: This would repeal the law providing exceptions to permit requirements regarding dune work. DEP can issue emergency permits if it determines there is a threat to lives or property if emergency work isn’t done.

S2680: This bill would allow for residential development – hotels, motels, mixed use – and commercial development on piers over rivers in coastal high hazard areas.

Currently, this type of development is prohibited in urban areas outside Atlantic City.

The legislation states this would help revitalize economies of some of the urban areas around the state.

It has a bipartisan sponsorship of Sens. Nicholas Sacco, (D-32), North Bergen, and Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Middletown.

SR100: This urges the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA to conduct an assessment of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and to provide an analysis of measures to prevent similar damage in the future.

Many of these bills have bipartisan backing.  Democratic Sens. Bob Smith and Jim Whelan are behind several of the bills, while Republican backers on some include Sens. Jennifer Beck and Christopher Bateman.

Post-Sandy bills on Energy Comm. agenda