A bill that would have weakened local authority over warehouse development, which was opposed by NJBIA, failed to win approval by the five-person Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday.
The bill (S-3688) would have required towns receiving warehouse applications to notify adjoining municipalities about the plans and to get their approval. It also proposed that any disputes between the municipalities be decided by county planning boards, with any appeals going to the State Planning Commission.
NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor testified to the committee that New Jersey should embrace its “logistical advantages” between two major metropolitan areas to galvanize its economy, while also acknowledging that planning for these types of facilities could be improved.
“We have the second largest port in the nation and the largest port on the East Coast,” Cantor said. “We raised the Bayonne Bridge in order to facilitate shipments into that port. We’re a logistical state with major highways running through it. So it’s logical and purposeful and good, sound economic policy that warehouses should be encouraged in New Jersey.
“We agree, however, that there may be a better need for planning of these types of facilities. We have our ports, and we have highways, but we don’t have a great structure for regional planning, for statehouse planning, to accommodate all of the warehouse and logistics that are needed to support that type of economic development.”
The bill received only two ‘yes’ votes and three abstentions from the five-person committee.
Sen. Troy Singleton, one of the sponsors of the bill, said a new version of the bill may now go before the Budget and Appropriations Committee.