TRENTON, N.J. – Municipalities could soon have access to model ordinances to aid them in addressing warehouse expansion and construction under a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Alex Sauickie and passed by an Assembly committee on Monday, Dec. 12.
The bill (A4950) requires the State Planning Commission to prepare, adopt and disseminate model ordinances to help local governments prevent land-use conflicts when warehouse development applications are received.
“Municipalities, especially smaller and more rural ones, need tools to proactively balance farmland preservation, warehouse construction and residential concerns,” Sauickie (R-Ocean) said. “This bill gives local governments options and flexibility at a time when the demand for warehouse space is exploding.”
Due to a growing e-commerce market and New Jersey’s proximity to major highways, airports and ports, the number of warehouses in the state has grown exponentially. One report notes there are currently 502.9 million square feet of warehouse space in northern New Jersey with another 13.6 million under construction. The southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania region is the top real estate market for warehouses in the U.S., with the Garden State experiencing 13.9 million square feet of development alone during the last quarter of 2021.
“Every municipality in the state would be able to select the model ordinance, or aspects of several ordinances, most appropriate for their individual community. This will allow them to more easily update master plans and zoning ordinances prior to even receiving applications for more industrial complexes. It’s important that the state provide these tools and options to towns without any mandate, so they can do what’s best for their residents,” Sauickie added.
The bill also provides for state reimbursement of up to $50,000 for a municipality’s costs to update its zoning ordinances pursuant to the bill.
Sauickie’s measure has gained the support of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, New Jersey Business and Industry Association, New Jersey Farm Bureau, New Jersey State League of Municipalities, Clean Water Action and the League of Conservation Voters.