If You Are a Builder or a Developer in the Highlands Region
In theory, if TDR works as it is supposed to, you will have as many opportunities to build in the Highlands Region as you did before. Your product mix is likely to move in the direction of much larger lots (and presumably, larger homes but fewer in number) in the preservation area, and toward homes in the planning area's receiving zones that would be built at a higher density than currently permitted. The bill calls for 4% of the planning area to be designated as receiving zones, and the incentives to municipalities kick in when densities of five (5) units per acre or greater are permitted there.
Whatever ultimately happens to total zoned capacity in the Highlands Region, it is clear that your administrative burdens will increase--if for no other reason than the additional planning body and the newness of many of the regulations and tools. The bill also authorizes increased development impact fees in communities that voluntarily conform to the new Highlands Plan. These fees could increase your cost of construction.
As of this writing, however, a bill was on the governor's desk to streamline permitting procedures in places where the Highlands Council and State Planning Commission agree development should be encouraged. At this time, we are unable to summarize and interpret that bill*.
The New Jersey Builders' Association has prepared its own summary of the Highlands legislation and FAQ with your concerns in mind. Go to www.njba.org and click on the link for "Special Highlands Issue of Dimensions."
*Go to www.njleg.state.nj.us and type S1368 or A3008 into "bill search." The bill passed both houses on June 17th, 2004.