January 2010


Revitalizing cities and town centers by attracting development investment through a historic tax credit will create jobs and support smart development principles.

The New Jersey State Planning Commission has released its Impact Assessment of the proposed State Plan, and its findings give us another strong argument for a state historic preservation tax credit.  The Impact Assessment quantifies the savings, in both land and money, that the state would likely see by managing future growth according to the “existing centers-based” strategies of the State Plan.  It shows that revitalizing existing communities means significant reductions in road building, water and sewer and other infrastructure and municipal services costs.

The New Jersey State Planning Act requires the State Planning Commission to revise and re-adopt the State Development and Redevelopment Plan every three years (although it’s now six years overdue!). The act further requires that an Impact Assessment be prepared prior to each revision and re-adoption.  The 60,000 acres of land saved by adhering to the State Plan, according the just-published Assessment, would include 17,000 acres of agricultural land.   At the recent rate of 15,000 acres of new development per year, the total savings translate to a 20 percent reduction in land consumption over the next 20 years.  Now that’s Smart Growth!

Also conforming to the NJ Heritage Development Coalition’s positions on job creation, the report estimates that a State Plan-influenced, existing communities development scenario would increase jobs by at least 10 percent in urban and inner-suburban communities that are presently suffering a variety of problems stemming from growth policies that favor greenfield development over redevelopment.

As NJ Future has reminded us this week: “Governor Christie is on record in support of a strengthened state planning process, pledging to improve interagency coordination, discourage suburban sprawl and provide incentives for redevelopment and urban revitalization.”  And he’s also on record as supporting a state historic rehab tax credit as one of those powerful revitalization incentives.

Interesting times.

The Historic Property Revitalization Act, to make New Jersey the 31st state to offer a powerful historic rehabilitation tax credit to spur job creation and desperately needed economic growth, has been re-introduced in the 2010 New Jersey Legislature.

Lead sponsors Sen. Barbara Buono (Middlesex) and Asym. Reed Gusciora (Mercer), long champions of the Historic Property Revitalization Act (HPRA), are heading efforts to get the legislation enacted, after several years of opposition from former NJ Governors.  Now, with the need for private investment, skilled jobs and community revitalization greater than ever, and a new Governor who supported HPRA during the fall election campaign, the historic tax credit legislation is poised for success!

To learn more and get involved, visit Preservation New Jersey’s “Take Action” webpage.  Ask NJ Assembly members and Senators to co-sponsor the bill (S659, A1851)