Effort to Stimulate Economy Through New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 Impacts Development Community

July 29th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 0| comments:

2009-02-17-transfer-1174By Cynthia DeLisi, Esq.   

Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 on July 27.   The Act is intended to spur economic growth in the state “through the use of tax increment financing, tax credits, development fee suspensions, and dedicated economic development revenues, along with a more efficient redevelopment process.”  Some provisions in the Act are significant for the development community:

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Governor Signs Bill Allowing Conversion of Age Restricted Housing Developments.

July 17th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 1| comments:

Age Restricted -parkWith some modifications Senate Bill S-2577 (A-3772), allowing the conversion of age-restricted housing developments, has finally been signed by Gov.  Jon S. Corzine and takes effect immediately.  As reported earlier, the new legislation permits the conversion of age-restricted housing units to non-age-restricted housing units and modifies laws concerning affordable housing.  In May, Gov. Corzine returned the legislation back to the Senate with recommendations.  The new law has evolved to better protect municipalities, making it clear that the reviewing municipal board should approve the conversion where there is no substantial detriment to the public good or impairment of the the intent and purpose of the zone plan and zoning ordinance.  The appeal language has also been modified, allowing an appeal directly to court.  Unlike a typical prerogative writ action, however, the appeal must be filed within 30 days of the applicant’s receipt of the resolution of denial.  For further details and a copy of the Advanced Law click here. 

New DEP Sewer Service Area Maps Spell Disaster for Planning, Economic Growth and Development

July 6th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 1| comments:

Sewer Service Area One of the most significant obstacles to economic growth and development in New Jersey has gone largely unnoticed and if not properly addressed, could jeopardize commercial, residential and industrial growth, and undermine New Jersey’s hope for future economic stability and vitality.  Amendments to the Water Quality Management Planning Rules in 2008 have resulted in an overall shift in how water resource planning is implemented throughout the state.  The new rules are designed to shape development patterns in New Jersey through the designation of sewer and nonsewer waste water disposal areas.  The serious impact of the rules is only now coming to light with the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) introduction of a proposed, dramatically revised Sewer Service Area Maps.  The new maps, currently in draft form, are substantially different than the current maps, removing many undeveloped or partially developed properties from current designations as Sewer Service Areas.   The bottom line is that many properties that are not fully developed, such as golf courses, educational campuses, industrial parks and corporate campuses that are currently within a Sewer Service Area would be redesignated to a non-Sewer Service Area, drastically devaluing the property, potentially impacting financing and effectively eliminating future development options.  Many of the map changes directly conflict with municipal zoning ordinances, master plans and even approved General Development Plans, removing key components that will have a critical impact on a municipality’s fiscal health and in some cases drive N.J. corporations that have purchased sufficient land for future growth around existing facilities to look to relocate outside of the State. 

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NJ Supreme Court Rules on the Validity of Open Space/Recreational Fees and Set Asides

June 25th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 2| comments:

2009-02-17-transfer-481This morning, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed a decision by the Appellate Division striking down ordinances in Jackson Township and Egg Harbor.  The court held that the Municipal Land Use Law does not empower municipal governments to require developers to set aside land for common open space or recreational areas and facilities (or to make payments in lieu of those set-asides), except with regard to applications for planned developments.  » Read the rest of this entry «

Proposed Legislation Defines “Inherently Beneficial Use” and Includes Alternative Energy Facilities

June 18th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 4| comments:

Renewable EnergyIn an attempt to promote renewable energy, the New Jersey Legislature has proposed a bill (S1303/A3062) that would add the definition of an “inherently beneficial use” to the Municipal Land Use Law and expand the inherently beneficial use status to wind, solar and photovoltaic facilities.  The concept of an inherently beneficial use was created by the courts to lessen the extremely difficult standard of proof required to obtain a use variance where the use being proposed was, by its very nature, beneficial to the community, such as a school or hospital.   In 1997, the concept made its way into the Municipal Land Use Law in order to resolve some ambiguities with the variance standard that was being applied by Zoning Boards, although no definition of an inherently beneficial use has yet appeared in existing statutory law.  » Read the rest of this entry «

Understanding Inherently Beneficial Uses

June 17th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 10| comments:

Flower - Inherently beneficial useWhere an applicant would like to introduce a use that is not permitted within a particular zone, that applicant is required to obtain a use variance – a very difficult variance to secure.  The Municipal Land Use Law authorizes local zoning boards to grant a use variance where: (1) “special reasons” exist for the variance (the positive criteria); and (2) the variance can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purposes of the zone plan and zoning ordinance (the negative criteria). N.J.S.A. 40:55d 70(d).  Where a proposed use is determined to be “inherently beneficial” to society, the positive criteria and negative criteria requirements are less stringent.   Specifically, the positive criteria is presumptively satisfied and the negative criteria is resolved by balancing the benefits of the project against any detriments, considering whether any detrimental effect can be reduced by imposing reasonable conditions, and then determining after weighing of the positive and negative factors (as ameliorated by the conditions) whether the grant of the variance would cause a substantial detriment to the public good.  » Read the rest of this entry «

Governor Issues Conditional Veto of Bill Allowing Conversion of Age Restricted Housing Developments.

May 28th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 0| comments:

Age RestrictedOn May 4, 2009, Governor Corzine returned Senate Bill No 2577 back to the Senate with recommendations, indicating that he was concerned that the “bill does not go far enough in ensuring the provision of housing for those whose needs the private market has not addressed, and further recommend providing local governmental units with additional approval authority in matters of planning for residential developments.” The bill, as discussed in a prior post, would permit the conversion of age-restricted housing developments to non-age restricted  housing developments under certain circumstances.  In application, it would make modifications to the municipalities affordable housing requirements.   » Read the rest of this entry «

The New Site Remediation Reform Act and the Rise of Licensed Site Remediation Professionals

May 21st, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 0| comments:

Redevelopment- waterfallOn May 7, 2009, Governor Corzine signed into law the Site Remediation Reform Act (“Act”), starting a new chapter in the State’s regulatory history.  The Act fundamentally changes the way that contaminated sites will be cleaned up in New Jersey.  The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) will have a significantly reduced level of direct oversight over the vast majority of cleanups.  In such cases, the NJDEP will no longer issuing No Further Action letters.   Rather, qualified private consultants will be authorized as Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (“LSRPs”) and these professionals will conduct and approve  the clean up of the contaminated sites.   Undoubtedly, the current relationship between a client and its environmental consultant, now LSRP, will change as a result of the Act.  LSRPs will issue Response Action Outcomes, or “RAOs”, to certify completion of the investigation and cleanup of a contaminated site in accordance with state standards.  Each LSRP’s work product and approved RAOs will be subject to an audit by a newly formed Licensed Site Remediation Professional Board and its NJDEP staff.  In most cases, a RAO is subject to audit for a period of three years after its issuance. The new law addresses a wide range of topics that will no doubt raise numerous issues as the implementation unfolds.  Stay tuned – more information to come on this topic.

Adopted Bill Allows for Change of Age-Restricted Housing Units to Non-Restricted Housing Units Under Certain Circumstances

March 18th, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 0| comments:

Age Restricted -parkOn March 16, 2009, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate adopted bill A3772/S2577.  If signed by the Governor, the act would allow for the conversion of age-restricted housing units, pending approval by the local planning or zoning board (who seem to have very little discretion to deny the conversion).  The Bill has met with substantial resistance from local governments and it remains to be seen if it will be signed into law by the Governor. 

 

To be eligible for conversion, the developer must agree to set aside a percentage of the units in the development (not to exceed 20 %) for the provision of affordable housing.  These units would count towards fulfilling the municipality’s affordable housing obligation.  To be eligible for conversion, the developer must have received preliminary or final approval prior to the bill’s effective date and the developer can not have any deposits from buyers.  » Read the rest of this entry «

The Permit Extension Act of 2008

January 1st, 2009 | Posted by: Christopher DeGrezia 3| comments:

Permit Extension - meadowIn response to a national recession, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed the Permit Extension Act of 2008 (“Act”), which was signed into law on or about September 6, 2008 by Governor Corzine .  The Act suspends the expiration of most state, county and local approvals and permits in existence during the “extension period” running from January 1, 2007 through July 1, 2010.  However, the Act specifically excludes permits involving the federal government, municipal approvals for residential developments where the land subsequently has been rezoned for either industrial or commercial use, permits for development in environmentally sensitive areas and some permits issued by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection. The act also excludes from coverage permits and approvals that are in “environmentally sensitive areas” which include certain Planning Ares (4B and 5).

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