Should Highlands landowners be compensated?

From the Daily Record:

Highlands residents, environmentalists speak out

Hurry up, but do it right, was the common theme of comments from the public Thursday to the New Jersey Highlands Council during its first full, on-the-record public comment session in three months. But the speakers didn’t necessarily agree on the definition of “right.”

To property owners, “right”meant making sure they are compensated for the loss of the value and development rights of their land.

“For me, compensation for landowners is the only issue,”said Jim Warren, who owns 30 acres in Independence. “If people in other parts of the state want our water, they should be paying for it.”

To environmentalists, “right” meant adopting the strictest standards possible to protect the region’s water supply.

“I want to remind you the language in the Highlands Act tells you to protect, enhance and restore the resources,” said Julia Somers, who heads the New Jersey Highlands Coalition. “Where there is no clear scientific data, the council should base your decisions on the most protective standard available.”

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