Legislature Approves Retroactive One-Year Extension of New Jersey’s Permit Extension Act in Superstorm Sandy-Impacted Counties

New Jersey’s Permit Extension Act (“PEA”) sunsetted at the end of 2015 when the Legislature did not enact a further extension. It has now been resurrected and extended retroactively, for one additional year, in nine counties most impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

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.” The purpose of the PEA was to toll, through the end of 2012, expiration of various approvals necessary for development. The PEA was later amended in 2012, due to the then “current national recession,” to extend the tolling of the expiration of those approvals until December 31, 2014, and a subsequent amendment extended it until December 31, 2015.

The retroactive extension for Superstorm Sandy-impacted counties was introduced in the Assembly on June 16, 2016, and in the Senate on June 20, 2016. Just two weeks later, by June 30, 2016, it had passed both houses and been signed into law as P.L. 2016, c.14. The extension applies only in nine Superstorm-Sandy impacted counties, which are defined as Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union.

The PEA provides for tolling of any “approval,” as defined in the statute, which is or was in existence during the extension period (January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2015, now amended to December 31, 2016 in Superstorm Sandy-impacted counties). Although there are important exceptions, most subdivision, site plan and variance approvals granted pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law are encompassed within covered “approvals,” as are many approvals granted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC), Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, New Jersey Pinelands Commission, and various other agencies.

The most recent extension allows projects in Superstorm Sandy-impacted counties that have permits which expired earlier this year, or which have permits set to expire later this year, to be revived and gain more time in which to move forward. An individualized analysis should be undertaken to determine the expiration date of specific permits you may have for a particular project.

Howard D. Geneslaw is a Director in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department.
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