Legislative Update: NJ Assembly Passes Proposed Legislation Extending Municipal Land Use Deadlines

Legislative Update: NJ Assembly Passes Proposed Legislation Extending Municipal Land Use Deadlines

The New Jersey Assembly on March 25 unanimously passed Assembly Bill No A-3902, which proposes to vest in the Director of Local Government Services the ability to extend the deadlines under the Municipal Land Use Law and other statutes that require certain municipal action before a given deadline during a declared state of emergency or public health emergency. This would effectively suspend all timeframes for determining completeness or requiring a vote by the zoning or planning board on a given application. This legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration, and we will continue to monitor various legislative and regulatory updates.

Non-Residential Development Fees – How Much Do I Pay and When?

Non-Residential Development Fees – How Much Do I Pay and When?

The Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee Act (the “Act”) has been in full effect for the past three years. Yet, there remains confusion as to how the fee is calculated and when it is required to be paid. There shouldn’t be. Before the Act, both residential and non-residential development fees were governed by the Council on Affordable Housing’s (“COAH”) regulations, and municipalities adopted a form ordinance provided by COAH. COAH’s regulations, for instance, permitted all development fees to be collected with up to 50% due at the issuance of a building permit and 50% due at the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The same regulations permitted municipalities to collect the full fee at the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The current Act makes it crystal clear that “the payment of non-residential development fees … shall be made prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for each development.” The Act also lays out a process for preliminary and final assessments of fees, including a notice required upon issuance of a construction permit to the tax assessor to conduct an initial evaluation of the fee. Thus, any requirement for the payment of a development fee as a condition of...

Recap: IRS Convenes Public Hearing on Proposed Regulations for Opportunity Zones

Recap: IRS Convenes Public Hearing on Proposed Regulations for Opportunity Zones

Jason J. Redd, a Director in the Gibbons Government & Regulatory Affairs Department attended an overflowing public hearing on February 14 convened by the Internal Revenue Service for the purpose of obtaining input from stakeholders concerning the initial proposed regulations for Opportunity Zones (OZ) issued in October. The IRS is reviewing comments on the first round of proposed rules and is expected to issue the next round of proposed regulations in March, with the potential for final regulations to be issued in late spring. Witnesses at the packed hearing included state cabinet officials, as well as representatives from state economic development groups, small businesses, community reinvestment coalitions, investment funds, and technology and planning organizations, among others. Testimony focused on ensuring that program regulations maximize investment and economic growth by generating new development, capital, and jobs in the distressed communities where OZs are located. There was also a clear call, by all in attendance, for clarity and flexibility in the next round of rules. Suggestions included: (i) modifying the rules to provide more flexibility to investors when exiting Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) investments, which is currently limited to a sale of the QOF investment itself; (ii) minimizing sourcing and location rules...

NJ Appellate Division Announces Evidentiary Standards for Condemnations “Necessary” for a Redevelopment Project

NJ Appellate Division Announces Evidentiary Standards for Condemnations “Necessary” for a Redevelopment Project

At what point is a piece of property “necessary” for a redevelopment project? On January 7, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division published a decision in Borough of Glassboro v. Jack Grossman, Matthew Roche, and Dan Desilvio, — N.J. Super. — (App. Div. 2019) (slip op. at 2) that – for the first time – clarifies the phrase “necessary for the redevelopment project” as stated in the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law (LRHL) at N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-8(c). The three-judge panel addressed the question of whether a showing of necessity is required by a condemning authority beyond the designation of the area as one in need of redevelopment, and, what showing it must make in order to condemn a parcel of land located with a redevelopment area. Existing case law required the taking to be “reasonably necessary,” but had never clarified what standards should be used to evaluate how necessary a given property might be to a given redevelopment project. This decision now requires that when a landowner within a redevelopment area contests the necessity of a condemnation, the condemning authority must articulate a definitive need to acquire the parcel for an identified redevelopment project. In Grossman, the defendants owned or were...

“Housing is Health Care”: New Jersey HMFA Launches Program for Supportive Housing Partnership with Hospitals

“Housing is Health Care”: New Jersey HMFA Launches Program for Supportive Housing Partnership with Hospitals

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), in collaboration with the New Jersey Hospital Association, has announced a pilot subsidy program to promote investment by hospitals throughout New Jersey in affordable and supportive housing. The program was previously endorsed by the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees. Following a number of recent studies highlighting the interconnection between stable, safe, and affordable housing and maintaining a higher quality of life, HMFA created a partnership program for New Jersey’s hospitals and affordable housing developers to try and fill a notable void in supportive housing. Hospitals are encouraged to work with developers to target housing for special needs residents or users of frequent emergency room services. HMFA anticipates the projects would consist of 60-70 units and can include mixed-use space for doctors’ offices, clinics, or other community uses. Approximately ten of the units would be set aside for low-income households (50 percent of gross median income), and the remainder would be restricted to households of moderate income (80 percent of gross median income). The program, currently funded with $12 million, seeks to match funding contributions from hospitals up to $4 million to fund three or four projects in New Jersey. The...

An Application for Development Must Include All Checklist Items for Protection of “Time of Application” Rule to Apply, New Jersey Supreme Court Says

An Application for Development Must Include All Checklist Items for Protection of “Time of Application” Rule to Apply, New Jersey Supreme Court Says

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled today, in a unanimous opinion in a case of first impression captioned Dunbar Homes, Inc. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Franklin, et al., that to receive the protection of the “time of application” rule, an application must comply with the definition of “application for development” in the Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”), meaning that it must include all of the items required by the submission checklist which the municipality has adopted by ordinance. This case constitutes the first time the Supreme Court has interpreted the “time of application” rule, and its decision will impact the review of development applications throughout the state. The MLUL’s “time of application” rule provides that the ordinances and regulations in effect “on the date of submission of an application for development” govern review of that application. This reversed the longstanding “time of decision” rule whereby municipalities could change the zoning regulations at any time prior to the approval of an application for development, even where the change was enacted during a public hearing process specifically for the purpose of derailing a pending application. Under the “time of application” rule, the date upon which “an application...

New Jersey HMFA Announces 2018 Tax Credit Round – Applications Due July 24, 2018

New Jersey HMFA Announces 2018 Tax Credit Round – Applications Due July 24, 2018

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) announced Tuesday that it is now accepting applications for federal low-income housing tax credits (“LIHTC”) for the development of family, senior, and supportive housing projects throughout New Jersey. This announcement relates to the competitive LIHTC, which provides a 9% tax credit as a mechanism of funding construction of affordable housing in New Jersey. HMFA has announced that there is a funding tranche of approximately $28 million dollars in LIHTC funding available. Applications for the family, senior, and supporting housing rounds are due July 24, 2018 at noon.

Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Releases Proposed Land Development Rules for Atlantic City Tourism District

Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Releases Proposed Land Development Rules for Atlantic City Tourism District

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (“CRDA”) recently released for public comment its proposed land use regulations for the Tourism District within Atlantic City. CRDA oversees all land use planning within the Tourism District, which spans from the beaches and boardwalk of Atlantic City north to the Convention Center, and stretches from the Absecon Inlet south to Ventnor City. These rules are proposed to establish new procedural and substantive standards for applications for development being proposed within the Tourism District. The next public hearing on the proposed regulations is scheduled for October 10, 2017 at the Atlantic City Convention Center at 6:00 PM. Written comments may be submitted by November 17, 2017 to CRDA.

Update: U.S. Supreme Court Announces New Test for Defining “the Parcel” in a Regulatory Taking

Update: U.S. Supreme Court Announces New Test for Defining “the Parcel” in a Regulatory Taking

On March 22, 2017, we blogged about the importance of the United States Supreme Court’s looming decision in Murr v. Wisconsin – a regulatory takings case that was poised to resolve a key question long left unanswered by the Court’s takings jurisprudence: how do you define the relevant parcel in determining a regulation’s impact on “the parcel as a whole?” On June 23, 2017, the Court issued its ruling, and in a 5-3 decision answered definitively that it depends. Sometimes a regulation may go so far as to effect a “taking” of one’s property. In determining when a regulation has gone so far, the Court has previously instructed that reviewing courts must consider the regulation’s interference with property rights “in the parcel as a whole.” But the precise boundaries of “the parcel” are not always clear and, in many cases, may prove to be dispositive of whether there was a taking at all. The Court described the problem in Keystone Bituminous Coal Assn. v. DeBenedictis, explaining that because the regulatory takings analysis requires a comparison between the value taken from the property to the value which remains, “one of the critical questions is determining how to define the unit of property whose...

Appellate Division Holds UHAC Regulations Preempt Local Code Provisions on Affordability Controls for New Developments

Appellate Division Holds UHAC Regulations Preempt Local Code Provisions on Affordability Controls for New Developments

In an unpublished decision entitled Avalon Princeton, LLC v. Princeton et al., the Appellate Division has affirmed that certain state affordable housing regulations preempt pre-existing municipal ordinances, setting a period of affordability controls for “at least 30 years” on new construction. Although not precedential, this decision provides insight on how courts may view some of the regulatory framework, particularly regarding municipal versus state regulation of newly constructed affordable units, and potentially forecasts much more flexibility for municipalities in controlling their current and future stock of affordable housing. In order to assure that affordable housing units remain affordable for a period of time, municipalities have long required that properties that are affordable to low- and moderate-income families be encumbered with some form of restrictive covenant running with the land for both rental and owner-occupied properties. The length of term of these restrictions have varied, based on the municipality and the nature of the units, but typically ran for 30 years from the date of first occupancy, and traditionally have automatically expired after that period. Following the introduction of the Fair Housing Act, these standards varied as COAH’s regulations were refined and developed over the course of the various iterations of the...