Update: New Jersey Considering Facade Legislation

In May 2011, we reported that the New Jersey Legislature was considering a statewide facade inspection program, bills S-2771/A-3895. The bills passed the Legislature last December, but were recently vetoed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. One reason cited by opponents of the legislation is that it would have given jurisdiction for the facade inspections to multiple local enforcement bodies. Opponents also argued that the state-wide ordinance would have duplicated facade inspection requirements that are already in place in New Jersey. Although the latter argument may be true for some building types, such as hotels and rental apartments, other types of high-rise buildings would have been brought into the periodic inspection process. In addition, the current New Jersey Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Act simply states that these properties must be inspected every five years, but does not specify the level of inspection. The proposed facade inspection program, which was based on Philadelphia’s 2010 facade ordinance, would have strengthened, clarified and standardized facade inspections in the state.