Category: Development/Redevelopment

Do You Like What You’re Reading? Rate Our Blog: The ABA Journal’s “Web 100” Award

Do You Like What You’re Reading? Rate Our Blog: The ABA Journal’s “Web 100” Award

Thank you for visiting the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Law Alert blog! Content on our site, authored by members of the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department, integrates topics in transactional real estate, development, and environmental law that are critical to the success of property acquisitions and dispositions, real estate financings, lease transactions, major development projects, and remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites. How are we doing? To review our blog and nominate the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Law Alert for this year’s ABA Journal’s “Web 100” award, please visit abajournal.com/blawgs/web100 and share why you are a “fan” of our site (Please note: the voting process closes on Sunday, July 30). Thank you in advance for your support.

N.J. Appellate Division Affirms Default Approval of Substantially Complete Application for Redevelopment Project

N.J. Appellate Division Affirms Default Approval of Substantially Complete Application for Redevelopment Project

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently affirmed a trial court’s grant of an automatic site plan approval for an 87-unit multi-family residential project with possible commercial space on the ground floor in Jersey City. The decision simultaneously sheds light on what it means for an application to be “complete” and when the Municipal Land Use Law’s proverbial 95-day stopwatch for the grant or denial of preliminary approval begins ticking. In Bright and Varick Urban Renewal Co. LLC v. Jersey City Planning Bd., after the City designated the subject property as an area in need of redevelopment and adopted a redevelopment plan, the designated redeveloper filed an application seeking site plan approval for the project. The City’s Principle Planner informed the redeveloper that it needed to submit an additional 12 outstanding items before the application would be considered. The redeveloper submitted 11 of the 12 outstanding items, and stated it would provide the twelfth item upon request. Thereafter, the Principle Planner confirmed in writing that the application was “substantially complete,” and requested the redeveloper make minor changes to its plans without mentioning the twelfth outstanding item. Two months later, the City had concerns about the density of the project, tabled the...

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...

New Jersey Future Report: Changes to Low Income Housing Tax Credit Selection Criteria Change Locations of Affordable Housing Development

New Jersey Future Report: Changes to Low Income Housing Tax Credit Selection Criteria Change Locations of Affordable Housing Development

In 2013, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency made significant changes to the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), putting in place caps on development in areas with significant concentrations of poverty and adding additional criteria to encourage development in areas that would grant low- and moderate-income families a better chance at greater economic opportunity. Specifically, these changes encouraged development in transit oriented districts and areas with ready access to public transit, as well as encouraging development in areas with high-quality, well performing schools. In a recent study, New Jersey Future has found that these changes to the QAP have effectively implemented a policy shift in moving a significant amount of affordable housing construction out of poverty-stricken areas and reallocating such construction to more suburban areas of the State. Prior to 2013, roughly half the tax credits awarded were for economically distressed areas; after the changes to the QAP, that allocation is down to approximately 20%. More projects are being awarded tax credits in suburban areas with transit access and quality schools due to these changes in statewide policy as announced in the QAP, and this trend will likely make the limited number of tax credits allocated to urban areas...

Turning Back the Clock: NJ Appellate Division Holds That ISRA De Minimis Quantity Exemption Still Available Following Withdrawal of NFA

Turning Back the Clock: NJ Appellate Division Holds That ISRA De Minimis Quantity Exemption Still Available Following Withdrawal of NFA

The New Jersey Appellate Division recently announced several interesting holdings regarding the New Jersey Industrial Site Recovery Act (“ISRA”), N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6, et seq. In R&K Associates, LLC v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Docket No. A-4177-14T1, the Court held that a former owner of an industrial site may apply for an exemption from the ISRA process even when the former owner has not owned the site for many years and elected to not pursue the exemption in the past. The case concerned the final decision of the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) denying a De Minimis Quantity Exemption (“DQE”) under ISRA to the former owner of the subject industrial site. ISRA is the New Jersey law which generally requires owners of industrial sites to remediate on-site environmental contamination or expressly assume responsibility for remediation prior to transferring an ownership of the site. A DQE under ISRA allows an owner of an industrial site to avoid the requirements of ISRA where only trivial amounts of hazardous substances were used on-site. The case has an extensive procedural history with three appeals and numerous DEP actions, beginning with DEP’s withdrawal of a 1997 No Further Action (“NFA”) letter to the former owner. When...

Clarifying How New Jersey Counts Prospective Need and Evaluating Competing Proposals for Builder’s Remedies

Clarifying How New Jersey Counts Prospective Need and Evaluating Competing Proposals for Builder’s Remedies

Determining the municipal fair share housing obligation has been the subject of litigation for the better part of 18 years, since the last valid set of regulations for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing expired in 1999. As we have previously blogged, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in In re Declaratory Judgment Actions Filed by Various Municipalities, County of Ocean, – N.J. – (2017) established that the constitutional obligation to provide realistic opportunities for the construction of affordable housing is cumulative, leaving only the question of how to calculate the need during two periods: one from 1999 to 2015, and one from 2015 to 2025. The Appellate Division recently released for publication an edited version of Judge Wolfson’s trial court opinion in In the Matter of the Application of the Township of South Brunswick for a Judgment of Compliance and Repose and Temporary Immunity from Mount Laurel Lawsuits, in an effort to provide further clarity on how to calculate prospective need during the period from 2015 to 2025. The opinion addresses two fundamental questions: (1) how shall a municipality calculate its constitutional fair share housing obligation, and (2) how to evaluate competing claims for so-called “builder’s remedy” relief from intervening developers....

What Parcel? SCOTUS Hears Arguments in Case Poised to Clarify the Court’s Regulatory Takings Jurisprudence

What Parcel? SCOTUS Hears Arguments in Case Poised to Clarify the Court’s Regulatory Takings Jurisprudence

The Supreme Court of the United States entertained arguments on Monday, March 20, 2017 in a case likely to fortify its Fifth Amendment regulatory takings jurisprudence. The case, Murr v. Wisconsin, is on appeal from Wisconsin’s high court and, when decided, should answer a question left open by the Court’s 1978 ruling in Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York. In Penn Central, the Court instructed that in determining whether a regulation has gone far enough to constitute a taking of private property, courts should not limit their analysis to the regulation’s effect on some discrete segment or portion of the subject property, but should instead consider the regulation’s interference with property rights “in the parcel as a whole.” The question of how reviewing courts should define that parcel, however, has gone unanswered for decades. Enter the Murr children, whose parents purchased two adjacent tracts of land along the St. Croix River in the early 1960s. The Murr parents built a cabin on the first lot and maintained title to it in the name of their business. The second lot, purchased afterwards, was kept in their name and remained largely undeveloped. In 1976, a county ordinance was passed establishing new minimum...

Gibbons Part of Team Nominated by NAIOP for Mixed-Use Deal of the Year

Gibbons Part of Team Nominated by NAIOP for Mixed-Use Deal of the Year

NAIOP New Jersey, the commercial real estate development association, has announced the finalists for its Deal of the Year Awards. Gibbons P.C. was part of the team nominated for Mixed-Use Deal of the Year for the project involving the disposition of the Hoffmann-La Roche US headquarters in Nutley and Clifton, New Jersey. Winners in the categories of Industrial Deal of the Year, Office Deal of the Year, and Mixed-Use Deal of the Year will be announced at the 30th Annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala on May 11, 2017. Gibbons was part of the team that led the successful sale of the former 116-acre headquarters and research and development campus of Hoffmann-La Roche, which spans the municipalities of Nutley and Clifton, to Prism Capital Partners and a Boston-based investment manager. As part of the transaction, a joint venture between Hackensack University Medical Center and Seton Hall University will lease two of the campus buildings and 16 acres of the property for the new Seton Hall–Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the first new private medical school in New Jersey in over 40 years. The new site will also house Seton Hall’s College of Nursing and its School of Health and Medical...

Time of Application Rule Protects Against Zoning Changes Only if an Application for Development Complies with All Ordinance Submission Requirements, New Jersey Appellate Court Rules

Time of Application Rule Protects Against Zoning Changes Only if an Application for Development Complies with All Ordinance Submission Requirements, New Jersey Appellate Court Rules

The New Jersey Appellate Division, in the published decision Dunbar Homes, Inc. v. The Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Franklin, et al., recently declared what materials a developer must submit to a municipal land use board in order to constitute an “application for development” which triggers the protections of the Municipal Land Use Law’s (“MLUL”) “time of application” rule, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.5. Dunbar Homes establishes that an application is afforded the protections of the “time of application” rule from the time when an applicant submits an application form and all accompanying documents required by ordinance for approval. A formal finding that an application is “complete” by the municipality is not required. Thus, Dunbar Homes requires that the application essentially must be complete, even though that need has not yet been officially determined. 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 reverses 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...