The New Jersey General Assembly on Thursday approved a measure requiring a state official to intervene when potential land use conflicts between military installations and their neighbors arise, sending the legislation to the governor’s desk.
“The goal of this legislation is to ensure that communities surrounding installations and members of the military on the bases don’t run into conflict simply because of a lapse in communication,” Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak (D) said in a press release. “Giving both commanders and government officials a seat at the table during the planning process can help resolve any existing land use problems and avoid future conflicts altogether,” he said.
The bill, A-2518, requires the state military and defense economic ombudsman to communicate with installation commanders and representatives of the state, counties and municipalities to minimize land use conflicts between installations and local governments’ planning units.
The state created the ombudsman position last November to coordinate efforts to advocate on behalf of the state’s military installations ahead of federal budget cuts or a future BRAC round. Establishing the ombudsman position was one of the recommendations of the New Jersey Military Installation Growth and Development Task Force, which was created by Gov. Chris Christie (R).
The measure also requires the land use plan component of municipal master plans to show the locations of military facilities and to incorporate strategies to avoid potential conflicts.
“The insights of commanders can go a long way toward avoiding conflicts with neighboring communities,” said Assemblyman Bruce Land (D), who sponsored the bill with Andrzejczak.
The measure passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously.