For builders, towns, assessing impact on climate change is now law

In a continuing effort to ensure the potential impact to climate and change continues to be a priority, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation that will encourage municipalities to assess the effects of climate change on their towns in their master plan.

The new law (formerly bill A2785) requires that the land use plan element of a municipal master plan include a climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment. The law is effective immediately and will apply to any future land use plan.

The law also requires the Department of Environmental Protection, upon request by a planning board, to provide technical assistance, as practicable, to a municipality preparing a climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment required by the law.

Assemblymen Daniel Benson (D-Hamilton Square) and John McKeon (D-Madison), who sponsored the bill, said it will help towns be more prepared for extreme weather.

“By adding another sub-element to the land use plan that focuses on the municipality’s climate change vulnerability, we can better prepare for future storms and other extreme weather occurrences in our communities,” they said.

“The powerful storms we’ve seen over the last 10 years are more than enough reason to take the effects of global warming and climate change more seriously. Encouraging the planning to be included in a municipality’s master plan will help to build our resiliency in our most vulnerable communities.”

Murphy indicated the bill’s ideals fall in line with his own.

“I commend the bill’s sponsors for their recognition that confronting climate change requires concerted action at all levels of government and that local mitigation and adaptation measures are critical to protecting our residents, our economy and our way of life,” he said.

“The requirements of the bill will serve as an important component of New Jersey’s multifaceted climate policy, complementing the Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy that the Department of Environmental Protection is developing in consultation with the Interagency Council on Climate Resilience pursuant to Executive Order No. 89, the critical regulatory reforms to be proposed by the DEP as part of NJPACT (New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threats) under Executive Order No. 100, and the numerous climate change resilience efforts across all of our state agencies.”