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TRENTON, NJ-Two key legislative committees last week approved companion bills which, if passed by the full State Senate and Assembly, would give local governments transfer of development rights (TDR). The bills, S-2832 in the Senate and A-3936 in the Assembly, also spell out the parameters for transferring such rights.

Gov. James McGreevey immediately hailed the companion bills as being in line with his administration’s so-called “smart growth” initiative. “For too long, Trenton ignored the negative impacts of sprawl,” according to McGreevey, in a statement.

“From the beginning, I said that we must give mayors and local governments the power they need to fight unwanted, unplanned development,” the statement continues. “With passage of this bill, no longer will our mayors be defenseless in this battle against sprawl. This bill will complement the actions already undertaken by our administration to stop overdevelopment.”

The flip side is that, if passed, the initiative would also give local municipalities a mechanism for carrying out their local development and redevelopment plans despite state-level restrictions. When the McGreevey administration unveiled its Blueprint for Intelligent Growth, or BIG Map, early this year, much of the criticism for the now-withdrawn document came from local municipalities with longstanding development plans that were suddenly in the “red” (no-growth) zones (see earlier stories).

Primary sponsors of S-2832, which was introduced in the Senate Economic Growth, Agriculture and Tourism Committee, are senators John H. Adler, (D-6th District Cherry Hill) and Martha W. Bark, (R-8th District Mount Laurel). The bill is also co-sponsored by Raymond J. Lesniak, (D-20th District Union). <P)The Assembly version, introduced in the Housing Committee, is being sponsored by Jerry Green, (D-22nd District Plainfield) and Reed Gusciora, (D-15th District Trenton). Consideration by the full bodies before the holiday recess is considered "likely," according to observers.

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