There is growing concern about land-use standards being developed by the state Department of Environmental Protection that could stifle development.

Ray Cantor, vice president of government affairs at the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said these regulations are going to make “almost half the state of New Jersey into a flood zone.”

He said the DEP is developing the new rules based on a Rutgers University report that projects a 5-foot rise in sea level by the year 2100. But the report acknowledges there is a great deal of uncertainty about the timing of this projection.

“They’re using that 5 foot sea level rise as if it were going to be in place right now, and therefore regulating lands that are currently dry as if they are under water, and lands that have never flooded as if they are going to flood,” Cantor said.

He said using 80-year projections for land use standards would make “development or redevelopment of our major urban areas such as Newark, Jersey City, Hoboken, Atlantic City difficult if not outright impossible.”

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“It’s going to make businesses not being able to locate in certain areas where they otherwise would have located,” said Cantor.

He said the NJBIA fully recognizes we need to take into account climate change and sea level rise.

“What we have objection to is using highly uncertain science to try to regulate what’s going on the ground today, and that has tremendous impacts,” he added.

He said the better way to proceed would be to base regulations on 30-year projections.

State environmental officials decline to comment for this story..

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