Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) to streamline the local approval process to make it easier for homeowners to install automatic standby generators to provide electricity during power outages was approved by the New Jersey Senate in a 40-0 vote.
The bill, S-204, was prompted by a number of long-term outages in recent years that have increased demand from homeowners for the installation of emergency power sources.
“Homeowners who suffered days or weeks without power following Superstorm Sandy learned how fragile our electric grid really is,” said Kyrillos. “Many didn’t realize until then just how dependent we’ve become on technology that doesn’t work when the power is out. Too many who have sought to install standby generators on their homes since Sandy to minimize future disruptions have been blocked by unnecessary government red tape.”
Homeowners suffered long power outages after Sandy, we can cut red tape & help more people prepare for future storms https://t.co/66vj1VKto5
— Senator Joe Kyrillos (@joekyrillos) May 9, 2016
To help homeowners cut through the bureaucracy, the legislation sponsored by Kyrillos 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 or the Governor of the State of New Jersey.
“In the aftermath of Sandy, homeowners with generators provided a critical lifeline to unprepared neighbors to charge phones, do laundry, and keep food cold,” added Kyrillos. “We should encourage more families to prepare, and can help by getting government out of the way.”