On November 7, 2012, the New Jersey Supreme Court will be hearing oral argument as to whether the latest regulations adopted by the Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”) are valid. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, the decision will have a far-ranging impact on the future of affordable housing in New Jersey and is being watched closely by developers, municipalities and public interest groups.
David A. Brooks, a Director in the firm’s Real Property & Environmental Department, will be a featured panelist at the New Jersey State Bar Mid-Year Meeting this October in Las Vegas, Nevada. The topic of his seminar is, “Recent Developments in the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act.” The program will address various cases decided in the past year or two concerning efforts to establish liability for environmental releases under the “Spill Act.” Several of those cases set forth the burden that a plaintiff must meet when using scientific evidence to prove its case. The seminar will discuss the recent rulings and predict where the law on this subject is heading. It is being held on Thursday, October 11, from 10:00 – 11:15 am.
As we recently reported, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) announced on March 8 that it had finalized a new waiver rule that will permit the department to relax environmental rules in certain limited circumstances. It took a coalition of environmental and labor groups just two weeks to file a lawsuit challenging the new rule.
On August 16, 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued its final rule on chemical reporting which will apply to the next reporting period running from February 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012. Adopted pursuant to section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the rule increases the type and amount of information USEPA will collect on commercial chemicals from chemical manufacturers, including importers, allowing USEPA to better identify and publish information on the manufacturing, processing, and use of commercial chemical substances and mixtures on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory (TSCA Inventory).
On the weekend of June 24-26, 2011, the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education (“NJICLE”) in cooperation with the New Jersey State Bar Association (“NJSBA”), and New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association, held its annual Environmental Law Section Forum Weekend (“the Forum”). Taking place in Avalon, New Jersey, the Forum featured three days of seminars covering various hot-button environmental topics including, Funding for Remediating Sites, Vapor Intrusion, the LSRP Program, Non-Governmental Organizations’ Perspectives on Issues and Resolutions, the well-known NJDEP v. Occidental case also referred to as the Lower Passaic River litigation, Climate Change, and rounded out the weekend with two programs on Ethical Issues including Alternative Fee Arrangements and Multi-Party Settlements.
N.J. Appellate Court Extends Time Limit for Bringing Strict-Liability Claim for Natural Resource Damages
Thanks to a special “extension statute” enacted in 2001, the statute of limitations that requires the State of New Jersey to commence a civil action within ten years of its accrual does not apply to an action for natural resource damages (NRDs) that is brought “pursuant to the State’s environmental laws.” The Appellate Division recently held that the Legislature intended “the State’s environmental laws” to include the common law — or at least the common law of strict liability — and revived a claim that otherwise would have been time-barred.
The Audit Committee of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board is soliciting comments on its draft process and questionnaire for the completion of statutorily required audits of the work of Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs). The Committee is accepting comments until April 18, 2011. The Board intends to finalize the process and questionnaire at its May 2, 2011 meeting.
Whose Interest is it Anyway?: How the Town of Kearny, N.J. Stumbled on the Condemnation of a Leasehold Interest
Last month, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an opinion in Town of Kearny v. Discount City of Old Bridge, which refined and further complicated the process of condemning a leasehold interest. The decision also called into question condemnation provisions in existing leases. The atypical facts in the case likely led to the complex conclusion. The Town of Kearny designated an industrial area as an area in need of redevelopment pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.
Proposed Legislation Will Require Shopping Center Developments in NJ to Provide Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles
One of the problems with electric cars (EVs) is – what do you do when the battery runs down? Currently there are 500 charging stations in the United States and 400 of them are in California. In an attempt to address the dead battery problem and encourage purchase of EVs, on March 21, 2011, the New Jersey State Senate introduced Bill S2784 (the “Bill”) which requires owners of shopping center developments to include charging stations. Under the Bill, owners of a “shopping center development” must equip not less than five (5%) percent of the parking spaces for the shopping center development with electric vehicle charging stations. Moreover, such stations must be available for use during the hours of operation of the shopping center development.
New Jersey case law has consistently held that new or modified development ordinance provisions apply to pending land use applications, even if the proposed zoning was specifically introduced to thwart a pending application. This has historically been known as the “time of decision” rule. On May 5, 2011, the time of decision rule will run out of time.