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We Need Your Help Today: Call the NJ Assembly Speaker’s Office

December 9, 2010

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!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Eileen Stokes permalink
    December 9, 2010 6:05 pm

    This is a good idea inorder to save some of these properties which will only continue to decline; however, a strong mechanism needs to be in place to assure review of repairs and changes, along with a penalty for failing to do so. I am reposting and calling today.

  2. Stephanie Cherry Farmer permalink
    December 13, 2010 1:01 pm

    @ Eileen- Thank you for your attention and action! The bill does include provisions for review of repairs and alterations by the State Historic Preservation Office, and the opportunity for review by additional departments of DEP. Additionally, the bill mandates that all work be completed in substantial compliance with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

  3. Stephanie Cherry Farmer permalink
    December 13, 2010 1:22 pm

    UPDATE: We have verified that unfortunately, A763 was NOT posted as supplemental to today’s Assembly Hearing, therefore, the bill will not see a floor vote today. The Assembly will not reconvene until after the new year, and so at that time, we will need to continue to push for the bill to be posted for an Assembly vote (call your legislators and ask them to urge the Speaker) and push for a companion bill in the Senate. We will keep you posted. Thank you all for your hard work!

  4. Stephanie Cherry-Farmer, PNJ Programs Director permalink*
    May 20, 2011 12:13 pm

    UPDATE: A763 passed the NJ Assembly with unanimous support in February. On May 19, the Senate version of the bill, S2570, was approved with unanimous support by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee. Now it’s on to a full senate vote- call your Senator today!

  5. November 16, 2011 12:27 pm

    Dear Mrs.Farmer, So did they vote?Was the vote in favor of the bill or not? I just found out about this bill today nov16th,2011. I am all for it and if a petition is going around I would surely sign it.

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