Ted Zangari, co-chair of Sills Cummis & Gross P.C.’s real estate department, recently hosted members of the Smart Growth Economic Development Coalition at the firm’s Newark office. — Photo by Jeffrey Vock for Real Estate NJ
By Joshua Burd
A group of commercial real estate leaders gathered Tuesday to unveil a new policy agenda to promote smart growth and redevelopment, urging lawmakers and Gov.-elect Phil Murphy to take action that will help New Jersey stay competitive in the years to come.
The proposals, detailed during a NAIOP New Jersey symposium, touch everything from public incentives and land use to remediation and the shortage of industrial development sites near Port Newark-Elizabeth. The state has seen progress in many of those areas in recent years, but members of an influential business coalition say New Jersey is at risk of taking a step back without considering further improvements.
“Redevelopment is New Jersey’s best viable, long-term solution for growth,” said Ted Zangari, the co-chair of Sills Cummis & Gross P.C.’s real estate department, who leads the industry coalition. “The state must embrace redevelopment like never before — more ambitiously than ever — while also permitting and not obstructing responsible greenfield development throughout planning areas in New Jersey. And that includes the Highlands and the Pinelands.”
A detailed look at those recommendations can be found in Real Estate NJ’s recent six-part special report. Click the links to read each proposal.
- High-powered industry coalition seeks to provide a roadmap for new governor, Legislature
- Public incentives: Building on the success of Grow New Jersey, ERG
- Local land use: Creating predictability, uniformity
- Transit-oriented development: Prioritizing, streamlining public-private partnerships
- Regulations: Continue the progress of DEP reform
- Making land: Addressing the supply problem
Tuesday’s conference followed months of collaboration by more than 50 industry professionals who make up the Smart Growth Economic Development Coalition. The recommendations are among the latest proposals for the group, which goes back nearly a decade and has helped craft policies such as the Grow New Jersey tax credit, the Licensed Site Remediation Professional program and three statewide permit extensions for development projects.
Zangari said the coalition is now in the process of compiling its final recommendations and plans to present the finished product to the transition committee for Murphy, who will be sworn in next month to succeed Gov. Chris Christie.
During detailed presentations on Tuesday, coalition members said there was work to be done at both the state and local level. Among the main recommendations are several modifications to the Municipal Land Use Law of 1975, which are aimed at standardizing local zoning procedures and creating cost certainty for developers and new businesses looking to invest in the state.
“The systems that we’re trying to recommend and implement do not take away from the fact that we’re in a home rule state,” said Debra Tantleff, founding principal of Tantum Real Estate. “We don’t want to be in that battle of arguing with the legislators or the mayors or the local representatives that we’re taking power away.
“We’re just trying to recognize and get them to recognize and appreciate that the world is moving faster than their municipal budgets can afford.”