Following a number of long-term power outages in recent years that have affected New Jersey residents, the Senate Community & Urban Affairs Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) and Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex, Somerset) that would streamline the local approval process to make it easier for residents to install automatic standby generators on their homes.
“Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and recent blizzards and storms have reminded us how dependent we are on electricity and how hard it can be to get by when our power infrastructure is down,” said Kyrillos. “Following those outages, many homeowners have sought to install permanent standby generators for use in future emergencies. Some have found, however, that the local approval process to install a generator to be unnecessarily complicated and difficult, which this bill addresses.”
The legislation, S-2313, would classify the installation of an automatic standby generator on single and two-family residential properties as a permitted use that does not require a variance from a local planning or zoning board.
The bill requires the installation of a standby generator to comply with local setback requirements and the State Uniform Construction Code and manufacturer clearance specifications. In instances where a generator cannot be sited to meet local setback requirements, the bill requires the approval of the municipal zoning officer subject to five foot side and rear yard setback requirements, and directs that the zoning officer may not unreasonably withhold approval.
Finally, the measure requires the use of an automatic standby generator to comply with any laws and ordinances regulating noise levels, except during a state of emergency declared by the President of the Unites States of Governor of the State of New Jersey.
“During the long outages following Sandy, many homeowners with generators helped their neighbors, allowing phones to be charged, clothes to be washed and refrigerators to be kept cold,” added Kyrillos. “As more people seek to prepare their homes for future disasters with the installation of their own standby generators, we should cut the government red tape that unnecessarily gets in the way.”