Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

Real Property & Environmental Law Alert

Transactional Real Estate, Development/Redevelopment & Environmental Law

Tag Archives: Land Use

New Jersey Supreme Court Decides “Gap Period” Affordable Housing Need is to be Included in Present Need, Returns Cases to Trial Courts

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
The Supreme Court of New Jersey today issued its opinion in In re Declaratory Judgment Actions Filed by Various Municipalities partially affirming the decision of the Appellate Division, but expanding the definition of “present need” to include affordable housing need as it arose during the period from 1999 through the present. This decision recognized that the constitutional obligation to provide realistic opportunities for the construction of affordable housing did not stop in 1999, but has continued ever since, and provides some guidance for trial courts in how to determine the scope of that need. In effect, this decision modifies the decision of the Appellate Division by requiring trial courts to take the gap period need into consideration.… Continue Reading

N.J.’s Proposed Changes to Low Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plan Limit Projects per Developer and Encourage Development in Smart Growth Areas

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
The N.J. Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (“HMFA”) recently proposed changes to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) Qualified Allocation Plan (“QAP”). State housing credit agencies, like HMFA, are required to create plans which outline the selection criteria for awarding tax credits for the development of low- and moderate-income housing. The proposed amendments update the QAP to reflect procedural changes to the way in which affordable housing is constructed, but also include some substantive changes to both the allocation of tax credits among developers and the scoring system for awarding tax credits.… Continue Reading

Following the Expiration of the Permit Extension Act, Keep in Mind the Impact of Statewide Non-Residential Development Fees

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
With an improving economy, developers who have weathered the storms of economic recession and have projects approved prior to July 17, 2008, the effective date of the Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee Act, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-8.1 et seq. (the “Act”), may finally be in a position to construct many of these projects. However, with changes in the market and demand for certain types of commercial space outpacing those approved in the 1990s and early 2000s, approvals that have been tolled since 2007 by the Permit Extension Act (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-136.1 et seq.) may need to be altered to accommodate new marketplace demands. In seeking amendments of those approvals, developers should be aware of, and consider the potential application of, the affordable housing development fee to those projects.… Continue Reading

FEMA Amendments to Base Floor Elevation Requirements, When Minor, Do Not Necessarily Give Rise to Hardship Showing for Height Variance Says NJ App Div

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
In its recent decision in Richmond URF, LLC v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of the City of Jersey City, the Appellate Division held that a minor alteration in base floor elevation requirements in the wake of FEMA’s amendments to the regulations after SuperStorm Sandy does not necessarily give rise to showing a hardship in support of a height variance under N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70(d)(6).… Continue Reading

Howard Geneslaw and Jason Tuvel to Speak at the 2016 Land Use Update

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Howard D. Geneslaw, a Director in the firm’s Real Property & Environmental Department and Vice Chair of the Land Use Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, will be participating, both as a moderator and speaker, at the upcoming 2016 Land Use Update on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 in West Orange, New Jersey. Jason R. Tuvel, also a Director in the firm’s Real Property & Environmental Department and a Director of the Land Use Section, will be speaking when the same program is presented next month on March 16, 2016 in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.… 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

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

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

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

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

Funding Available for Site Remediation in New Jersey

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
On December 18, 2013, Susanne Peticolas, a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, moderated a panel, "There May Be Money for Your Client for Site Remediation," sponsored by the New Jersey Bar Association's Environmental Law Section. The program focused on the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund ("HDSRF"). Michael Deely, Supervisor for NJDEP's HDSRF program, cheered the audience by reporting that the long depleted fund once again has money for site remediation grants and loans.… Continue Reading

Legislature Contemplates Extension of Moratorium on Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
At the end of last week, the New Jersey State Senate ("Senate") introduced Bill S3116 that proposes to continue the moratorium on the statewide non-residential development fee (the "Fee") that expired on July 1, 2013. Since July 1, 2013, developers and land use attorneys have been in a state of flux with regard to whether the fee applies to development projects. If passed, this legislation would extend the moratorium to December 31, 2014.… Continue Reading

Throw Out Your Old SEQRA Forms – The Revised Model SEQRA Environmental Assessment Forms Take Effect October 7, 2013

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Environmental & Green Issues
Among the many sweeping changes made in recent years to New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act ("SEQRA"), including pending SEQRA amendments and a revised SEQRA handbook, are the adoption of revised model environmental assessment forms (EAFs). The new forms were adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYCDEC) back in January of 2012 and become effective as of Monday, October 7, 2013. The new EAFs can be found on NYCDEC's website.… Continue Reading

Gibbons Director Howard Geneslaw to Speak at Upcoming NJSBA & NJICLE Land Use Program

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Land use lawyers play a very important role in the building process in New Jersey. Navigating all of the litigation hurdles that can come up while the project progresses, from conception to development, requires specific skills, knowledge, and strategy. Land use attorneys are heavily involved in actual project development, whether the client is a private party, local government, or state agency. It is important to stay up-to-date on the various types of land use litigation scenarios that can arise.… Continue Reading

Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Lawyers Listed as Leaders in Their Fields

Posted in Construction, Development/Redevelopment, Transactional Real Estate & Leasing
Thirteen lawyers in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department were listed by New Jersey Super Lawyers and New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Stars as leaders in their fields for 2013. In addition, Department associate Uzoamaka N. Okoye was featured in a Rising Stars spotlight, in which she discusses her background and her reasons for becoming a lawyer. Overall, 80 lawyers in the firm were featured in these two publications.… Continue Reading

Brand New Philadelphia Zoning Code Amended After Only 5 Months

Posted in Development/Redevelopment
Well that didn't take long. Last August, following a four year process, the City of Philadelphia's comprehensive new zoning code became law. Because of the law's broad scope and sweeping changes, it was agreed that the Code would be revisited one year after its enactment to determine its effectiveness and to consider making any necessary changes. Yet, on January 24, 2013, a mere 5 months later ,the Philadelphia City Council, overriding a veto by Mayor Michael Nutter, passed Bill No. 120889 by a vote of 13-3 and amended the new Code, significantly complicating pre-hearing interaction between neighbors and developers which the Code was intended to streamline. While Council has enacted some minor "clean-up" amendments to the Code since August, this amendment could have substantial consequences.… Continue Reading

Developer Alert: Philadelphia Looking to Establish Land Bank Under New State Legislation

Posted in Development/Redevelopment, Tax Abatement
The redevelopment of vacant and blighted parcels has been a cumbersome, frustrating and, in many cases unsuccessful, process for municipalities and developers alike. Pennsylvania's new land bank legislation could change all that. Philadelphia, with its own land bank legislation is poised to take advantage of the state legislation.… Continue Reading