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State of New Jersey
Executive Order #59

Governor James E. McGreevey


WHEREAS, recent events have demonstrated that the siting and construction of billboards involves interaction with governmental agencies at several levels, and has the potential to confer substantial monetary benefits on owners and developers of billboards; and

WHEREAS, these events have raised questions as to the adequacy of the existing policies and practices of State departments, authorities and independent agencies in approving the siting, construction and leasing of billboards on public property; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that the existing processes for locating and constructing billboards on State property be thoroughly reviewed with an eye towards furthering public notice and input in the siting process and financial disclosure of the individuals and entities with an interest in billboard projects, and reducing or eliminating new billboard construction in New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, there is a compelling need to suspend the siting and construction of new billboards on State property until this comprehensive review is completed, in order to protect the public interest in the integrity in the award of public contracts for billboards, to ensure that any such contracts are reviewed in compliance with environmental requirements and benefits and to enhance the financial benefit to the State for any such contracts;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. McGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. Effective immediately, there is imposed a 120-day moratorium on the approval of any permit application or contract for the design, construction or erection of any billboards on State-owned property or property owned by any State department, agency or independent authority.

  2. Effective immediately, there is imposed a 120-day moratorium on the sale or lease by any State department, agency or independent authority of any existing billboards owned, operated or controlled by the State of New Jersey, any State department, agency or independent authority.

  3. There is hereby created the Billboard Policy and Procedure Review Task Force (hereinafter "Task Force"). The Task Force shall consist of the Commissioner of Transportation, the Commissioner of Community Affairs, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, the Chief of the Governor's Authorities Unit and five public members to be appointed by the Governor. The five public members shall have experience in land use issues, ethics law, environmental matters or public contracting and procurement procedures. The Governor shall appoint the Chair of the Task Force from among its members.

  4. The Task Force shall undertake a comprehensive review of the existing procedures involved in the siting of billboards on public and private property, and the degree of involvement that State and local government agencies have in the siting and approval process. The Task Force shall also determine and catalog the existing policies and practices in place for all State departments, agencies and independent authorities regarding the sale, lease, development and erection of billboards in the State of New Jersey. The Task Force shall also evaluate the feasibility of reducing or eliminating new billboard construction in New Jersey.

  5. The Task Force shall report its findings within 90 days of the effective date of this Order. The report of the Task Force shall detail the existing policies and practices in place, and shall contain detailed recommendations concerning how the process and procedures should be altered in order to ensure the integrity of the siting decisions and associated contracts. The goal of the Task Force shall be to recommend uniform policies and procedures to be put in place for the sale, lease or construction of any billboards in the State of New Jersey.

  6. Specifically, these uniform policies and procedures shall include notice to local public entities for comment prior to the construction of new billboards, full financial disclosure of all persons or entities with any financial interest in the billboards, and the elimination of no-bid contracts.

  7. The uniform policies and procedures should also require that notice and opportunity to comment at a public hearing be provided prior to the issuance of any permit for a billboard.

  8. The Task Force shall also examine the present organizational structure that the State utilizes in regulating and approving the placement of billboards in New Jersey, and shall recommend whether the existing structure should be altered in order to better accomplish the goals of mitigating the impact of billboards on the environment and of fostering interaction with local zoning and planning agencies.

  9. The Attorney General shall provide legal counsel to the Task Force. The Task Force may request assistance from any department, division, office, agency or authority of the State. Any department, division, office, agency or authority of the State is hereby directed to cooperate with the Task Force and furnish it with information and personnel assistance to the extent necessary to achieve the goals of this Order.

  10. This Order shall take effect immediately.


GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 12th day of May
in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Three, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Twenty-Seventh.

/s/ James E. McGreevey

Governor

[seal]

Attest:

/s/ Michael R. DeCotiis

Chief Counsel to the Governor

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