Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

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Transactional Real Estate, Development/Redevelopment & Environmental Law

Category Archives: Development/Redevelopment

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NJ High Court Clarifies Standard for Revocation of Direct Access to State Highway from Commercial Property

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
In its recent decision in In Re Revocation of the Access of Block #613, the New Jersey Supreme Court clarified the standard governing the revocation of direct access from a State highway to a property used for commercial purposes under the State Highway Access Management Act and the State Highway Access Management Code. The case outlines the requisite procedure for revocation of a commercial property's direct access to a State highway by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).… Continue Reading

No Further Extensions of New Jersey’s Permit Extension Act

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
The state legislature took no action to further extend New Jersey’s Permit Extension Act (“PEA”) during the recently concluded legislative session, which means that permits and approvals extended by the PEA’s tolling period either have expired or will expire soon. Pursuant to the terms of the act, the expiration date for most approvals covered by the PEA are tolled through June 30, 2016, with certain approvals expiring before that date, making right now the time to evaluate projects approaching construction to determine which existing approvals were extended by the PEA, the exact expiration date of such approvals, and whether further extensions are available under other laws. After such an evaluation, developers and project managers can then determine whether approval rights can be fully vested prior to their expiration date and, if not, whether an extension, amendment, or renewal of the approval is required.… Continue Reading

Settlement Update on New Jersey Tax Court’s Closely-Watched AHS Hospital Decision

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Several months ago, this blog reported on Judge Vito Bianco’s denial of Morristown Memorial Hospital’s (the “Hospital”) property tax appeal. While this was only a Tax Court decision, it was closely-watched because it had the potential to eviscerate the property tax exemption for modern integrated hospitals, and potentially for other nonprofit organizations with complicated corporate structures or relationships.… Continue Reading

New Jersey Appellate Court Rules Redeveloper Cannot Compel Amendments to Redevelopment Plan

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Redevelopment agreements are the tool used to memorialize the respective obligations of the redeveloper and the municipality to effectuate a redevelopment project. Often, a concept plan has been agreed upon, but changes to the site-specific zoning embodied in the redevelopment plan are necessary in order for the project to advance. In an unpublished decision earlier this year, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, ruled in Fieldstone Associates, L.P. v. Borough of Merchantville, A-1239-13T3, that the municipality cannot be contractually compelled to adopt such amendments.… Continue Reading

Jersey City Restriction on Chain Stores and Restaurants Could be Unconstitutional

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Litigation
Jersey City, New Jersey’s second largest city, recently passed an ordinance that restricts “formula businesses” in certain neighborhoods. The ordinance defines a “formula business” as one which is “contractually obligated” to maintain certain “standardized characteristics” such as merchandise, menu items, design, signage, and trademarks. In other words, Jersey City is seeking to limit chain restaurants and stores from opening in certain city neighborhoods.… Continue Reading

New Jersey Supreme Court Decides 62-64 Main Street, L.L.C. v. City of Hackensack, Clarifies Definition of “Blight” in Context of Redevelopment

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
On March 23, 2015, in 62-64 Main Street, L.L.C. v. City of Hackensack, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that property does not need to have a negative effect on surrounding properties in order to be deemed “blighted.” Prior to the Court’s decision in this case, it was unclear whether a negative effect on surrounding properties was a prerequisite to a finding of blight, or simply one way to establish it. Because the New Jersey constitution allows municipalities to exercise their powers of eminent domain to redevelop blighted property, the Court’s decision could encourage more municipalities to move forward with the condemnation of property for private redevelopment.… Continue Reading

NYSDEC Hears Comments on Proposed Definition of “Underutilized”

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
On July 29, 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) conducted a public hearing on its proposed definition of an "underutilized" site for purposes of the 2015 Brownfield Cleanup Act Amendments. As indicated in a prior blog, this definition is critical because being "underutilized" is one of the few ways that a New York City brownfield site can qualify for tangible property credits under the 2015 Amendments.… Continue Reading

Gibbons Advises New Jersey Future 2015 Smart Growth Award Winners

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
New Jersey Future, a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on the promotion of responsible land use policies, has named the Military Park renovation in Newark and 18 Park in Jersey City as two of its 2015 Smart Growth honorees. Gibbons P.C. played a significant role in both of these projects. The awards were given out on Thursday, June 4 at the annual awards gala.… Continue Reading

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