Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

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Transactional Real Estate, Development/Redevelopment & Environmental Law

Category Archives: Development/Redevelopment

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2015 Amendments to New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
After a number of failed attempts over the past several years, the New York State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached agreement as part of the 2015-16 state budget on sweeping amendments to the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). This achievement is significant in light of the scheduled expiration of tax credits under the program on December 31, 2015. The attached article published by Bloomberg BNA, reprinted with permission, and co-authored by David J. Freeman, reviews the key elements of the amended statute, evaluates their significance and identifies some of the important unresolved issues that will need to be addressed in implementing the new law.… Continue Reading

New Jersey Court Invalidates Exaction for Sidewalks

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
In a recent unpublished decision, Jerman v. Township of Berkeley, a New Jersey trial court held invalid an ordinance which required the construction of sidewalks and curbs as a condition of subdivision or site plan approval, or the payment of a fee in lieu of constructing these improvements. The decision serves as a reminder that the legal authority for municipalities to impose exactions is strictly limited as provided by statute, and requires a “rational nexus” between the project and the need for the improvement.… Continue Reading

New Jersey Supreme Court Appoints Trial Court the Venue for Affordable Housing Disputes

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a green light to developers and other interested parties to eventually pursue builders’ remedy actions in New Jersey Superior Court. The decision is the latest in a battle over affordable housing that has been in and out of the courts since the Mount Laurel decision in 1975. Most recently, in September 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the Council on Affordable Housing’s (“COAH”) latest attempt at adopting affordable housing regulations and ordered COAH to adopt new regulations within five months. That period was eventually extended to November 2014. COAH, however, did not adopt new regulations. Its inaction prompted a motion in aid of litigants’ rights, whereby parties to the prior action sought to break the bureaucratic logjam. Last week’s decision, designating trial courts as the venue for affordable housing disputes, is the New Jersey Supreme Court’s solution to the logjam.… Continue Reading

Howard Geneslaw and Jason Tuvel to Speak at the 2015 Land Use Update

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Howard D. Geneslaw, a Director in the firm’s Real Property & Environmental Department and Secretary of the Land Use Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, will be participating, as both a moderator and speaker, at the upcoming 2015 Land Use Update on Wednesday February 25, 2015 in West Orange, New Jersey. Jason R. Tuvel, also a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, will be a speaking when the same program is presented next month at the Legal Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey on March 18, 2015.… Continue Reading

No Specific Waiver, No Arbitration: Enforceability of Arbitration Provisions in New Jersey Real Estate Contracts in Doubt Following Dispenziere v. Kushner Cos.

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Real Estate, Transactional Real Estate & Leasing
Companies doing business in New Jersey and accustomed to settling contract disputes through binding arbitration should carefully review their contracts - and carefully draft all future contracts - to ensure that each arbitration provision contains clear and unambiguous language that the parties are waiving their rights to sue in court. An arbitration clause stating that all disputes will be determined through binding arbitration, but failing to contain this explicit waiver, may not be enforceable in accordance with the recent holding by the Appellate Division in Dispenziere v. Kushner Cos.… Continue Reading

Highlands Council Schedules Stakeholder Outreach Workshops and Will Accept Written Comments

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
The New Jersey Highlands Council has scheduled three Stakeholder Outreach Workshops to solicit public input on the Highlands Regional Master Plan (RMP) as part of its RMP Monitoring Program. According to public notices issued by the Highlands Council, the workshops are intended to provide members of the public with an opportunity to learn more about the monitoring program and to provide input. The notices also state, “[t]he Monitoring Program evaluates progress toward achieving the goals of the Highlands Regional Master Plan,” and “[t]he program requires identification of indicators and milestones to measure the impact of the Regional Master Plan on water resources, agriculture, housing, transportation, and economic development within the Highlands Region.”… Continue Reading

Tolling of Approvals Under New Jersey’s Permit Extension Act: Will The End Of The Year Be The End Of The Line? Approved Projects Could Be At Risk

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
New Jersey's Permit Extension Act (“PEA”) was initially enacted in 2008 — in response to “the crisis in the real estate finance sector of the economy” — for the purpose of tolling, through the end of 2012, expiration of various approvals necessary for development. It was later extended, in 2012, due to the then “current national recession,” to extend the tolling of the expiration of those approvals until December 31, 2014. Unless the Legislature approves a further extension, the PEA will sunset at the end of this year, and that could pose a problem for projects which have not yet started construction, because their approvals may expire.… Continue Reading

NJDEP Document Review Process Curtailed: More Autonomy for LSRPs

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
Unable to keep up with submittals from Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRP) and with the resulting increase in review times, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has recently decided to defer the review of non-Response Action Outcome (RAO) documents until an RAO is submitted. This announcement comes four years into the LSRP program, which as designed, has begun to eliminate the backlog of contaminated sites awaiting attention. However, the very success of the LSRP program has created its own backlog as NJDEP finds itself falling behind in review of submittals.… Continue Reading

Potential Change Coming to NJ’s Economic Opportunity Act

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
The “New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013” overhauled New Jersey’s economic development programs. The Act retooled and substantially enhanced the State’s job creation and retention program known as the Grow NJ Assistance Program (Grow NJ), as well as the Economic Redevelopment Growth (ERG) Grant Program, the incentive program that provides gap financing to developers. As we wrote in Commerce magazine, Grow NJ and ERG improve New Jersey’s economic competitiveness with our neighboring states and may be game-changers for businesses and developers. After seeing the programs in action for under a year, the Legislature has revisited the programs to make technical changes and to further enhance NJ’s economic development arsenal.… Continue Reading

Gibbons Director Installed as Secretary of the Land Use Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Howard D. Geneslaw, a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, was installed as Secretary of the Land Use Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) at the section’s annual meeting, held during the NJSBA’s Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City in mid-May. This position places Mr. Geneslaw in line to become Vice Chair of the section next year, and Chair of the section the following year.… Continue Reading

David J. Freeman to Chair Panel on Brownfield Reform at New York State Bar Association Environmental Law Section Fall Meeting

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
David J. Freeman, a Director at Gibbons P.C., will chair a panel on reform of New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program at the Fall Meeting of the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. The panel will discuss the Governor’s and Legislature’s actions this year―passage of an extension of the tax credit aspects of the Program, without enacting underlying reforms―and what is likely to happen next year. It will feature such prominent experts as Edward McTiernan, General Counsel of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Christopher Goeken, Director of Public Policy and Governmental Relations of the New York League of Conservation Voters; Darren Suarez, Director of Governmental Affairs of the New York State Business Counsel; Jody Kass, Executive Director of New Partners for Community Revitalization; Philip Bousquet, Partner at Bousquet Holstein; and Linda Shaw, Partner at Knauf Shaw.… Continue Reading

NJDEP Clarifies Obligation to Remediate Contamination from Historic Pesticide Use

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has more formally confirmed the scope of the responsibility to address historic pesticide use on commercial and industrial properties: namely that a party need not remediate historic pesticide use unless there is a land use change to residences, schools, child care centers and playgrounds. On June 20, 2014, the NJDEP published an additional notice for Response Action Outcomes, the written determination by a Licensed Site Remediation Professional that a remediation is complete, which specifically permits completion of a remediation without investigation of contamination from historic pesticide use. The notice would only apply to contamination from the application of such pesticides to, for example, a former orchard or farm, but not contamination from a discharge caused by the mixing, manufacturing or other handling of such chemicals. NJDEP approval is not required for an LSRP to use this notice.… Continue Reading

Susanne Peticolas Authors Section on Bankruptcy for NJ Environmental Law Handbook

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
Susanne Peticolas, a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, contributed a section on environmental issues in bankruptcy to the 8th edition of the New Jersey Environmental Law Handbook. Her section discusses the issues created by the conflicting policies underlying bankruptcy law, focusing on a fresh start for the debtor, as well as environmental law, which focuses on making the polluter pay. The section covers a wide range of relevant topics, including which environmental claims are bankruptcy “claims,” how environmental claims are impacted by the automatic stay, the identity of the claim holder, and the relief that is being sought.… Continue Reading

Having Trouble Filling Out the New SEQRA Environmental Assessment Forms? NYS DEC Has Scheduled a Series of Webinars to Help Shed Some Light on the Streamlined and Revised Forms

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
It’s been six months since the new model State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) Environmental Assessment Forms (EAFs) became effective on October 7, 2013, and many individuals are still scratching their heads on how to efficiently and effectively complete the forms. In an effort to assist and instruct government agencies and the public on how to use the new model EAFs, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has announced a series of webinars to be held this spring. The webinars are designed to demonstrate how the new EAFs, the web-based framework for the guidebooks developed by NYS DEC, and the EAF Mapper, a software mapping program, work together to streamline the EAF completion process by both project sponsors (applicants) and reviewing agencies.… Continue Reading

Jason Tuvel Will Speak at the 2014 Land Use Update

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Jason R. Tuvel, a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, will be a speaker at the 2014 Land Use Update on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in West Orange, New Jersey. The all-day program, sponsored jointly by NJICLE and the NJSBA Land Use Section, will cover the past year’s judicial decisions - both reported and unreported - as well as regulatory, legislative and ethical issues that impact this constantly evolving area of practice. The program will provide essential information and strategies for handling the latest and most challenging land use issues.… Continue Reading

The Philadelphia Land Bank – What You Need to Know

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
One stop shopping. That is the goal of the bill that Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law on January 13, 2014, creating the Philadelphia Land Bank. The Land Bank, which is to be fully operational by the end of this year, is intended to streamline and consolidate the process by which the City acquires and sells vacant and tax delinquent properties. The Land Bank will also act as the single repository for the approximately 9,500 vacant and surplus properties currently owned by the City through three separate entities: the City, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation.… Continue Reading
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