We Need Your Help Today: Call the NJ Assembly Speaker’s Office
A763, which would establish a program for the leasing of state-owned historic sites in NJ to individuals, families, and businesses, and would also allow non-profits that currently can lease from the state to sublease to these groups, passed unanimously at today’s Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
This bill would open up an entirely new array of opportunities for state-owned historic properties, many of which stand today deteriorating and vacant, due to the state’s lack of sufficient funds or capacity.
This is fantastic news, but we need quick attention to obtain a floor vote for this bill on Monday, as it’s the last session of the year. PNJ urges New Jersey voters to reach out to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver TODAY and request that she post A763 as supplemental to the agenda for Monday’s Assembly vote. Also, reach out to your Assembly representatives and encourage them to press Oliver to add the bill as well. As the staffer from DiMaio’s office explained to me, the agenda for Monday has already been created, but between now and tomorrow, the Speaker can add bills- this is called posting them as supplemental. However, she can only do this for a limited amount of time, hence why quick action is needed.
Assemblywoman Oliver’s office can be reached at (973)395-1166. Just tell the person that you’d like to speak to the Chief of Staff regarding posting a bill as supplemental for Monday’s Assembly vote.
Here are some talking points on the bill:
- This bill would authorize New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection to establish a program for the leasing of state-owned historic sites in NJ for state-owned historic resources on lands administered by the department
- the state owns thousands of historic properties for which it does not have the funds or capacity to properly care. Currently, these resources can be leased by non-profits. This bill would expand that leasing program to allow leasing by private individuals and businesses, and would allow non-profit lessees to sublease these properties to private individuals and businesses.
- In exchange for low or abated rent, the tenant would occupy the property and be responsible for restoration and maintenance of the property.
- The Department of Environmental Protection, including the State Historic Preservation Office, would have to approve all restoration and repair work on the premises, ensuring that it meets preservation standards
- I support this bill because leasing would open a new opportunity for restoration and use of thousands of historic properties, that currently sit vacant and deteriorating, to be restored and put back into use. This arrangement benefits the public by preserving historic resources, reducing the opportunity for vandalism and other detrimental behavior at or on these properties, improving the appearance and safety of state-administered lands.
- Many other states, including Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, have successfully instituted similar programs.
Pass the message along to anyone you know that might be willing to make a call. Every voice counts!