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TRENTON, NJ – While Senate bill S-2080, aimed at stifling big-box retail projects, has been temporarily shelved in the legislature in the face of general criticism combined with intense lobbying efforts by members of the International Council of Shopping Centers, its companion bill in the assembly, A-3504, is alive and moving forward, according to Ted Zangari of the Newark-based Sills Cummis law firm.

As reported by GSR, the twin bills target so-called “superstore retailers,” which are defined as single stores or collections of stores of more than 130,000 sf selling more than 25,000 SKUs. Such projects would be subject to a more rigorous approval process, including regional economic impact studies, and communities would essentially be given veto power over projects proposed for neighboring towns.

“We’re not out of the woods on this flawed legislation, not even close,” Zangari tells GSR. Zangari, who co-chairs the government relations committee of ICSC, has been leading the effort by members of the organization to get both bills killed. He terms the legislation “a direct hit on the shopping center industry.”

The companion bills were modeled after legislation in California aimed at slowing Wal-Mart’s growth in that state. According to a source in the senate, the New Jersey legislation was specifically aimed at a Wal-Mart development in Deptford, NJ.

And while the senate version has been pulled for revision, “it will be coming back in a new form,” Zangari says. It’s expected to be reintroduced as early as next month.

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