Assembly Republican Sean Kean, R-Monmouth and Ocean, said the idea floated by Assembly Democrat Peter Barnes that would create a state commission and give it much of the authority for rebuilding towns impacted by Hurricane Sandy is more than “controversial,” but an effort to take away the most basic planning principal in New Jersey - Home Rule.
“Taking away a municipality’s ability to determine its planning and zoning violates a fundamental principal in New Jersey,” said Kean, who represents many of the Shore communities in Monmouth County that were impacted by the superstorm. “With one broad stroke, the bill would have Central Control tell the locals how to proceed with their recovery. The controversy that would unfold when a questionable decision is made will create a legitimate uproar from the municipalities. I believe the coastal communities are in the best position to decide how their towns should be rebuilt without interference from Trenton.
“The residents of towns and their local officials should determine how to rebuild,” continued Kean. “For example, Belmar has been quite active in its plans to restore its boardwalk and reestablish its tourism business by Memorial Day. Ceding control to commissioners might have delayed its efforts. The state doesn’t need to overtake the right of municipalities to decide what they want. Tourism is the lifeblood for many towns along the shore. The anxiety and frustration when Sandy hit was hard enough for these residents and businesses to cope with. It’s safe to say that communities will not be receptive to Big Brother dictating to them what they need to do.”