Bill Text: NJ S1173 | 2022-2023 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes limits on zoning restrictions for certain electric battery storage equipment installation.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2022-01-31 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Environment and Energy Committee [S1173 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2022-S1173-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 1173

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

220th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 31, 2022

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes limits on zoning restrictions for certain electric battery storage equipment installation.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning electric battery storage equipment installation and supplementing and amending P.L.1975, c.291.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  (New section)  a.  At a residential property, small electric battery storage equipment shall be considered a permitted accessory use and permitted accessory structure in all zoning or use districts of a municipality.  The small electric battery storage equipment installation component of an application for development at a residential property shall not require a variance pursuant to subsection d. of section 57 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-70).

     b.  As used in P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), "residential property" means any building being used, or to be used or held for use, entirely or partially as a home or residence, together with the land upon which it is situate, including, but not limited to, a single family dwelling, or a multiple dwelling as defined under subsection (k) of section 3 of the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law," P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-3).

 

     2.  (New section)  a.  An application for development submitted solely for the installation of small electric battery storage equipment at a commercial or industrial property shall not be subject to site plan or other land use board review, shall not require variance relief pursuant to P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.) or any other law, rule, or regulation, and shall be approved through the issuance of a zoning permit by the administrative officer, provided the application meets the following requirements:

     (1)  the proposed installation does not violate bulk requirements applicable to the property, or the conditions of the original final approval of the site plan or subsequent approvals for the existing commercial or industrial property;

     (2)  all other conditions of prior approvals for the existing commercial or industrial establishment, or any other existing building continue to be met; and

     (3)  the proposed installation complies with the construction codes adopted in or promulgated pursuant to the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), any safety standards concerning the installation, and any State rule or regulation concerning small electric battery storage equipment.

     b.  An application for development submitted solely for the installation of small electric battery storage equipment at a commercial or industrial property shall be deemed complete if:

     (1)  the application, including the permit fee and all necessary documentation, is determined to be complete;

     (2)  a notice of incompleteness is not provided within 20 days after the filing of the application; or

     (3)  a one-time written correction notice is not issued by the jurisdiction within 20 days after filing of the application detailing all deficiencies in the application and identifying any additional information explicitly necessary to complete a review of the permit application.

     c.  A power company, when connecting small electric battery storage equipment subject to the approval of an application submitted pursuant to this section, shall collaborate with developers and owners, with consultation from the Board of Public Utilities, in implementing the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     3.  (New section)  a.  (1)  Within 30 days of enactment of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Commissioner of Community Affairs shall publish a model ordinance to address installation, sightline, and setback requirements and other health- and safety-related specifications for small electric battery storage equipment and shall post the model ordinance on the Internet website of the Department of Community Affairs.  The model ordinance published by the commissioner shall not require the rulemaking process pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

     (2)  The model ordinance shall address the requirements of sections 1 through 3 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        through        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The commissioner may periodically update the small electric battery storage equipment installation requirements of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to reflect advances in electric battery storage technology.  The commissioner shall update the installation requirements pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) and promulgate them as amendments to the model ordinance published pursuant to this subsection. 

     b.  (1)  The model ordinance published by the commissioner pursuant to this section shall be effective in each municipality, except that a municipality may deviate from the reasonable standards set forth in the model land use ordinance by adoption of an ordinance pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection.

     (2)  A municipality may, by ordinance, adopt reasonable standards to address installation, sightline, and setback requirements or other health- and safety-related specifications for small electric battery storage equipment.  Nothing in this subsection shall be deemed to authorize a municipality to require site plan review by a municipal agency solely for the installation of small electric battery storage equipment.

 

     4.  Section 3.1 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-4) is amended to read as follows:

     3.1. "Days" means calendar days.

     "Density" means the permitted number of dwelling units per gross area of land that is the subject of an application for development, including noncontiguous land, if authorized by municipal ordinance or by a planned development.

     "Developer" means the legal or beneficial owner or owners of a lot or of any land proposed to be included in a proposed development, including the holder of an option or contract to purchase, or other person having an enforceable proprietary interest in such land.

     "Development" means the division of a parcel of land into two or more parcels, the construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation or enlargement of any building or other structure, or of any mining excavation or landfill, and any use or change in the use of any building or other structure, or land or extension of use of land, for which permission may be required pursuant to P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).

     "Development potential" means the maximum number of dwelling units or square feet of nonresidential floor area that may be constructed on a specified lot or in a specified zone under the master plan and land use regulations in effect on the date of the adoption of the development transfer ordinance or on the date of the adoption of the ordinance authorizing noncontiguous cluster, and in accordance with recognized environmental constraints.

     "Development regulation" means a zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance, site plan ordinance, official map ordinance or other municipal regulation of the use and development of land, or amendment thereto adopted and filed pursuant to P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).

     "Development restriction" means an agricultural restriction, a conservation restriction, or a historic preservation restriction.

     "Development transfer" or "development potential transfer" means the conveyance of development potential, or the permission for development, from one or more lots to one or more other lots by deed, easement, or other means as authorized by ordinance.

     "Development transfer bank" means a development transfer bank established pursuant to section 22 of P.L.2004, c.2 (C.40:55D-158) or the State TDR Bank.

     "Drainage" means the removal of surface water or groundwater from land by drains, grading or other means and includes control of runoff during and after construction or development to minimize erosion and sedimentation, to assure the adequacy of existing and proposed culverts and bridges, to induce water recharge into the ground where practical, to lessen nonpoint pollution, to maintain the integrity of stream channels for their biological functions as well as for drainage, and the means necessary for water supply preservation or prevention or alleviation of flooding.

     "Electric vehicle supply equipment" or "electric vehicle service equipment" or "EVSE" means the equipment, including the cables, cords, conductors, connectors, couplers, enclosures, attachment plugs, power outlets, power electronics, transformer, switchgear, switches and controls, network interfaces, and point of sale equipment and associated apparatus designed and used for the purpose of transferring energy from the electric supply system to a plug-in electric vehicle.  "EVSE" may deliver either alternating current or, consistent with fast charging equipment standards, direct current electricity.  "EVSE" is synonymous with "electric vehicle charging station." 

     "Environmental commission" means a municipal advisory body created pursuant to P.L.1968, c.245 (C.40:56A-1 et seq.).

     "Erosion" means the detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice and gravity.

     "Final approval" means the official action of the planning board taken on a preliminarily approved major subdivision or site plan, after all conditions, engineering plans and other requirements have been completed or fulfilled and the required improvements have been installed or guarantees properly posted for their completion, or approval conditioned upon the posting of such guarantees.

     "Floor area ratio" means the sum of the area of all floors of buildings or structures compared to the total area of land that is the subject of an application for development, including noncontiguous land, if authorized by municipal ordinance or by a planned development.

     "General development plan" means a comprehensive plan for the development of a planned development, as provided in section 4 of P.L.1987, c.129 (C.40:55D-45.2).

     "Governing body" means the chief legislative body of the municipality.  In municipalities having a board of public works, "governing body" means such board.

     "Historic district" means one or more historic sites and intervening or surrounding property significantly affecting or affected by the quality and character of the historic site or sites.

     "Historic preservation restriction" means a "historic preservation restriction" as defined in section 2 of P.L.1979, c.378 (C.13:8B-2).

     "Historic site" means any real property, man-made structure, natural object or configuration or any portion or group of the foregoing of historical, archeological, cultural, scenic or architectural significance.

     "Inherently beneficial use" means a use which is universally considered of value to the community because it fundamentally serves the public good and promotes the general welfare.  Such a use includes, but is not limited to, a hospital, school, child care center, group home, small electric battery storage equipment, or a wind, solar or photovoltaic energy facility or structure.

     "Instrument" means the easement, credit, or other deed restriction used to record a development transfer.

     "Interested party" means: (a) in a criminal or quasi-criminal proceeding, any citizen of the State of New Jersey; and (b) in the case of a civil proceeding in any court or in an administrative proceeding before a municipal agency, any person, whether residing within or without the municipality, whose right to use, acquire, or enjoy property is or may be affected by any action taken under P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), or whose rights to use, acquire, or enjoy property under P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), or under any other law of this State or of the United States have been denied, violated or infringed by an action or a failure to act under P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).

     "Land" includes improvements and fixtures on, above or below the surface.

     "Local utility" means any sewerage authority created pursuant to the "sewerage authorities law," P.L.1946, c.138 (C.40:14A-1 et seq.); any utilities authority created pursuant to the "municipal and county utilities authorities law," P.L.1957, c.183 (C.40:14B-1 et seq.); or any utility, authority, commission, special district or other corporate entity not regulated by the Board of Regulatory Commissioners under Title 48 of the Revised Statutes that provides gas, electricity, heat, power, water or sewer service to a municipality or the residents thereof.

     "Lot" means a designated parcel, tract or area of land established by a plat or otherwise, as permitted by law and to be used, developed or built upon as a unit.

(cf: P.L.2021, c.171, s.5)

 

     5.  Section 3.4 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-7) is amended to read as follows:

     3.4.  "Sedimentation" means the deposition of soil that has been transported from its site of origin by water, ice, wind, gravity or other natural means as a product of erosion.

     "Sending zone" means an area or areas designated in a master plan and zoning ordinance, adopted pursuant to P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.), within which development may be restricted and which is otherwise consistent with the provisions of section 8 of P.L.2004, c.2 (C.40:55D-144).

     "Site plan" means a development plan of one or more lots on which is shown (1) the existing and proposed conditions of the lot, including but not necessarily limited to topography, vegetation, drainage, flood plains, marshes and waterways, (2) the location of all existing and proposed buildings, drives, parking spaces, walkways, means of ingress and egress, drainage facilities, utility services, landscaping, structures and signs, lighting, screening devices, and (3) any other information that may be reasonably required in order to make an informed determination pursuant to an ordinance requiring review and approval of site plans by the planning board adopted pursuant to article 6 of this act.

     "Small electric battery storage equipment" means the equipment, of up to 25 kilowatts in capacity, including the cables, cords, conductors, connectors, couplers, enclosures, attachment plugs, power outlets, power electronics, transformer, switchgear, switches and controls, network interfaces, and point of sale equipment and associated apparatus designed and used for the purpose of sto energy from the grid or wind, solar or photovoltaic energy facility or structure to a residential, commercial, or industrial end use.

     "Standards of performance" means standards (1) adopted by ordinance pursuant to subsection 52d. regulating noise levels, glare, earthborn or sonic vibrations, heat, electronic or atomic radiation, noxious odors, toxic matters, explosive and inflammable matters, smoke and airborne particles, waste discharge, screening of unsightly objects or conditions and such other similar matters as may be reasonably required by the municipality or (2) required by applicable federal or State laws or municipal ordinances.

     "State Transfer of Development Rights Bank," or "State TDR Bank," means the bank established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1993, c.339 (C.4:1C-51).

     "Street" means any street, avenue, boulevard, road, parkway, viaduct, drive or other way (1) which is an existing State, county or municipal roadway, or (2) which is shown upon a plat heretofore approved pursuant to law, or (3) which is approved by official action as provided by this act, or (4) which is shown on a plat duly filed and recorded in the office of the county recording officer prior to the appointment of a planning board and the grant to such board of the power to review plats; and includes the land between the street lines, whether improved or unimproved, and may comprise pavement, shoulders, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, parking areas and other areas within the street lines.

     "Structure" means a combination of materials to form a construction for occupancy, use or ornamentation whether installed on, above, or below the surface of a parcel of land.

     "Subdivision" means the division of a lot, tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts, parcels or other divisions of land for sale or development.  The following shall not be considered subdivisions within the meaning of this act, if no new streets are created: (1) divisions of land found by the planning board or subdivision committee thereof appointed by the chairman to be for agricultural purposes where all resulting parcels are 5 acres or larger in size, (2) divisions of property by testamentary or intestate provisions, (3) divisions of property upon court order, including but not limited to judgments of foreclosure, (4) consolidation of existing lots by deed or other recorded instrument and (5) the conveyance of one or more adjoining lots, tracts or parcels of land, owned by the same person or persons and all of which are found and certified by the administrative officer to conform to the requirements of the municipal development regulations and are shown and designated as separate lots, tracts or parcels on the tax map or atlas of the municipality.  The term "subdivision" shall also include the term "resubdivision."

     "Transcript" means a typed or printed verbatim record of the proceedings or reproduction thereof.

     "Variance" means permission to depart from the literal requirements of a zoning ordinance pursuant to sections 47 and subsections 29.2b., 57c. and 57d. of this act.

     "Wind, solar or photovoltaic energy facility or structure" means a facility or structure for the purpose of supplying electrical energy produced from wind, solar, or photovoltaic technologies, whether such facility or structure is a principal use, a part of the principal use, or an accessory use or structure.

     "Zoning permit" means a document signed by the administrative officer (1) which is required by ordinance as a condition precedent to the commencement of a use or the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, conversion or installation of a structure or building and (2) which acknowledges that such use, structure or building complies with the provisions of the municipal zoning ordinance or variance therefrom duly authorized by a municipal agency pursuant to sections 47 and 57 of this act.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.146, s.2)

 

     6.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the fifth month next following enactment, except that the Commissioner of Community Affairs shall take any anticipatory actions necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would amend and supplement the "Municipal Land Use Law," ("MLUL") P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.) to establish limits on how local zoning codes may restrict the installation of small electric battery storage equipment.  The bill defines "small electric battery storage equipment" as the equipment, of up to 25 kilowatts in capacity, including the cables, cords, conductors, connectors, couplers, enclosures, attachment plugs, power outlets, power electronics, transformer, switchgear, switches and controls, network interfaces, and point of sale equipment and associated apparatus designed and used for the purpose of transferring energy from the grid or wind, solar or photovoltaic energy facility or structure to the residential, commercial, or industrial end use. 

     At a residential property, the bill would require small electric battery storage equipment to be considered a permitted accessory use and permitted accessory structure in all zoning or use districts of a municipality.  Under the bill, the small electric battery storage equipment installation component of an application for development at a residential property would not require a use variance, also known as a "d." variance.  Additionally, the bill adjusts the "inherently beneficial use" definition in the MLUL to include small electric battery storage equipment, thereby enhancing the ease of obtaining a variance when needed for certain development.  The bill defines "residential property" as any building being used, or to be used or held for use, entirely or partially as a home or residence, together with the land upon which it is situated, including, but not limited to, a single family dwelling, or a multiple dwelling as defined under subsection (k) of section 3 of the "Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law," P.L.1967, c.76 (C.55:13A-3). 

     Under the bill, an application for development submitted solely for the installation of small electric battery storage equipment at a commercial or industrial property would not be subject to site plan or other land use board review, and would not require variance relief.  These development applications would be approved through the issuance of a zoning permit, provided:

     (1)  the proposed installation would not violate bulk requirements of the property, or conditions of the original final approval of the site plan or subsequent approvals for the property;

     (2)  all other conditions of prior approvals for the property continue to be met; and

     (3)  the proposed installation complies with the "State Uniform Construction Code Act," P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), any safety standards concerning the installation, and any State rule or regulation concerning small electric battery storage equipment.

     The bill also expressly establishes standards for when an application for development solely for the installation of small electric battery storage equipment at a commercial or industrial property would be deemed complete.  Specifically, the application would be deemed complete if: (1) the application, including the permit fee and all necessary documentation, is determined to be complete; (2) a notice of incompleteness is not provided within 20 days after the filing of the application; or (3) a one-time written correction notice is not issued by the jurisdiction within 20 days after filing of the application detailing all deficiencies and identifying any additional information necessary. 

     The bill also directs a power company when connecting certain small electric battery storage equipment, to collaborate with developers and owners, with consultation from the Board of Public Utilities, in implementing the requirements of the bill.

     The bill directs the Commissioner of Community Affairs, within 30 days of the bill's enactment, to publish a model land use ordinance to address installation, sightline, and setback requirements and other health- and safety-related specifications for small electric battery storage equipment.  The model land use ordinance would not require the rulemaking process pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act."  The bill authorizes the commissioner to periodically update the model land use ordinance through the "Administrative Procedure Act" process.  The model land use ordinance would be effective in all municipalities., however, the bill authorizes   By ordinance, a municipality would be authorized to adopt an ordinance deviating from the model land use ordinance through adoption of if it sets forth reasonable standards to address installation, sightline, and setback requirements or other health- and safety-related specifications for small electric battery storage equipment.  However, the bill would not authorize a municipality to require site plan review by a municipal agency solely for the installation of small electric battery storage equipment. 

     The bill would take effect on the first day of the fifth month next following enactment, except that the Commissioner of Community Affairs is directed may to take any necessary anticipatory actions necessary prior to that date for implementation.

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