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WHEREAS, New Jersey has made a commitment to preserving Garden State farmland for future generations, and in order for the agriculture sector to expand and remain competitive with growers and producers in other states, it is imperative to mitigate the financial impediments that may impact a farm’s viability; and

WHEREAS, agriculture needs timely investment in new or upgraded facilities and structures, yet excessive building permit fees have placed a financial burden on the agriculture community and are placing unnecessary economic burdens on agriculture and its growth and development; and

WHEREAS, there have been excessive fees assessed by some municipalities for building permits for large, open-volume buildings such as barns, indoor riding arenas, greenhouses, packing houses, and other agricultural buildings, and since the time required for plan review and inspection is significantly less than that for other building types and groups, a lower unit rate for the computation of the permit fee should be assessed; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code (UCC) provides for varying the unit rate for "…different occupancy groups or structures of different sizes within the same occupancy group…" (N.J.A.C. 5:23-4.18(c)1.v).  The UCC also directs municipalities to establish by ordinance enforcing agency fees for UCC permits (N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.25).  

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 93rd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 6, 2008, request the Department of Community Affairs to recommend that each municipality review and amend its fee schedule to reflect a realistic cost for plan review and inspection of open-volume farm buildings as defined in N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.2(d).

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we request that all municipalities adopt the Department of Community Affairs’ fee schedule contained in N.J.A.C. 5:23-4.20 (c)2.i.(1), for structures on farms, including farm buildings under N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.2(d).  This action would demonstrate a municipality’s support of New Jersey agriculture and our farmers’ future viability.