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FLORIO LAUNCHES PINELANDS REVIEW AGENDA

Date: 040215
From: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/newjersey/

By Alan Rappeport Staff Writer, (609) 272-7219
Press of Atlantic City, February 14, 2004

New Lisbon - Pinelands Commission Chairman James J. Florio created a
new panel Friday aimed at maintaining the harvesting, land
preparation, and re-vegetation practices that protect the Pinelands,
commission officials said.

The panel will review the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan to
ensure that forestry remains an economic and cultural resource in the
Pinelands. It will focus on public and privately owned land.

"Forestry is a traditional activity in the Pinelands," Florio said.
"When done properly, forestry can help to revitalize the forest
landscape.

The Pinelands Commission's last comprehensive review of forestry
standards was nearly a decade ago and the time is now right to take a
fresh look at how well the program is working and what we can do to
improve it."

Michael Catania, former Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection will chair the eight-person
committee.

"Together we will work to ensure the viability of commercial forestry
and that the highest standards of forest ecological health are met in
the Pinelands," Catania said.

The committee was first established in 1987 to review harvest and
forest management plans for state-owned lands.

"A healthy forest resource is one of the most important tools for
protecting air quality, wildlife, open space and water resources in
our rapidly growing state," Florio said.

To email Alan Rappeport at The Press: ARappeport@pressofac.com
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PINELANDS PANEL TO CHARGE FEES FOR REVIEWS

Date: 040215
From: http://www.phillyburbs.com/

By Paul Leakan, Burlington County Times, February 15, 2004

Pemberton Township - Looking to ease its budget woes, the state
Pinelands Commission will begin charging developers for environmental
reviews for some proposed projects.

The commission voted 9-3, with one abstention, to approve the new
fees during its regular meeting here Friday morning.

Commission officials said they created the fees because of budgetary
concerns.

The commission oversees de-velopment in the 1.1-million-acre
Pinelands reserve in New Jersey. It is facing a potential $700,000
deficit for fiscal year 2005. The shortfall could result in the loss
of up to seven staff positions, according to the commission.

Pinelands Commission Chairman Jim Florio said there are solid
arguments on both sides in the debate about the fee proposal.

"I think the proposed fees strike a balance that is meritorious,"
Florio said.

The commission spends approximately $950,000 a year in personnel
costs for environmental reviews on development applications.

Fees for developers could generate $50,000 in revenue for the
Pinelands panel this year and more than $350,000 a year in following
years, the commission said.

The Cherry Hill-based Builders League of South Jersey has expressed
concerns, saying the new fees aren't needed and will result in higher
prices for new homes.

"They really don't need the personnel they claim they do," Rick Van
Osten, executive vice president of the Builders League, said of the
commission. "All of these costs should be incurred at the municipal
and county level, not adding another fee."

Carleton Montgomery, executive director of the nonprofit Pinelands
Preservation Alliance, said his organization be-lieves the fees are
warranted.

"The truth is that every governmental agency has fees for its work,"
he said. "The Pinelands Commission was probably unique in New Jersey
for having no fees. They just can't afford to do that anymore, given
the state budgetary problems."

The Pinelands panel will not charge to review applications for one
housing unit or for development applications from public agencies.

The commission will charge $100 a home for the first 25 units, $75 a
home for developments with 26 to 100 units and $50 a home for
developments of more than 100 units.

The panel will charge $200 per application for commercial,
institutional, industrial or nonresidential developments, or 1 percent
of the total construction costs.

There will be a $30,000 cap on fees.

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Email: pleakan@phillyBurbs.com
(c)2004 Copyright Calkins Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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