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NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE APPROVES NEW JERSEY ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT OF 2020, PAVING WAY FOR NEW ECONOMIC GROWTH TOOLS AND INCENTIVE PROGRAMS

December 28, 2020 | No Comments
Posted by Michael A. Bruno

Co-authored by Brian J. Shemesh, Esq. and Kristen Lyons, Esq.

With the world’s focus tethered to economic stimulus related to the impacts of COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that New Jersey’s Grow New Jersey and Economic Revitalization & Growth programs expired on July 1, 2019 without a replacement.  Since then, the legislature has made several attempts at replacing these critical programs without success.  Finally, last week Assembly Bill 4, titled “New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020,” was passed by votes in both the New Jersey State Assembly and State Senate. The bill is a comprehensive tax incentive overhaul legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and replaces the expired corporate tax incentives with new programs.  The plan provides for the administration and funding of programs related to the creation of jobs, property and real estate development, small and early-stage business, and other community projects. It specifically seeks to assist impoverished areas throughout the state, many of which have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Proponents of the bill urged the need to pass this legislation in order to retain and attract businesses to the State of New Jersey, something it has struggled to do without an incentive program.  While the legislature did not afford affected stakeholders a significant chance to review and comment on the bill, the new program represents a major milestone in New Jersey’s economic recovery as it will give businesses, developers and investors the tools needed to spur private investment throughout New Jersey, in particular in distressed areas.

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Extension of Affordable Housing Controls Considered by New Jersey Senate

November 18, 2020 | No Comments
Posted by Michael A. Bruno

Co-Authored by Kristen Lyons

Bill S422, sponsored by Senator Shirley Turner, was introduced to the New Jersey Senate earlier this month and approved for amendment by a vote on November 16. The Bill establishes new standards related to the expiration of affordability controls in New Jersey, and its most significant effect will be on the notice requirements to tenants by which landlords will have to abide. Read more

Land Use Considerations During COVID-19

April 14, 2020 | No Comments
Posted by Michael A. Bruno

Co-Authored by:
Steven P. Gouin
Adam Garcia
Kyle J. Campanile

The ongoing state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the ability of municipal governing bodies, planning boards, and zoning boards of adjustment to hold public hearings. Specifically, EO-103 (declaring a state of emergency) and EO-107 (heavily restricting public gatherings) have disrupted the conventional process for land use hearings contemplated by the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1, et seq. (“MLUL”) and the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6, et seq. (“OPMA”). While the MLUL and OPMA remain controlling, it is both impractical and impossible for boards to hold in-person public meetings as they are accustomed to doing. To address this, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”), Division of Local Government Services (“DLGS”) recently issued COVID-19-related Operational Guidance for municipal planning boards and zoning boards of adjustment for holding public meetings during the state of emergency. By complying with the recently-issued DLGS guidance, boards may hold “virtual” public meetings in lieu of “live” public meetings to ensure that critical business can still be conducted during the state of emergency. Read more

NJDEP Establishes New Ground Water Standards

April 6, 2019 | No Comments
Posted by Marc Policastro

The NJDEP recently recommended establishing specific ground water quality standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).  New Jersey is the first state to set drinking water standards for these chemicals.  PFOA and PFOS are frequently used in  commercial applications but have also been to widely reported to cause health problems.  Maximum contaminant levels of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFOS will be the basis for ground water quality standards for site remediation activities.  Additionally, the new rules will require that all remediation sites be evaluated for the potential presence of PFOA and/or PFOSA, and a positive result will require the site to undergo a ground water investigation pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.3.  A public hearing regarding this issue will be held on May 15th.

COURT TIGHTENS SCREWS ON REDEVELOPMENT CONDEMNATION

January 8, 2019 | No Comments
Posted by Paul Schneider

The Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court has narrowed the circumstances in which municipalities may condemn land for redevelopment over the objection of the property owner.  Glassboro v. Grossman involved an admittedly derelict structure located on approximately one acre that Glassboro included in a redevelopment area in 2000. In 2017, the town filed a condemnation action to acquire the property by eminent domain “for the purpose of redevelopment . . . and for the specific purpose of increasing the availability of public parking.” The property owner contested the condemnation and the town acknowledged that while public parking is one possible use of the property, the property might instead be used for some other purpose related to redevelopment. The property owner contended that the provision in the Local Redevelopment & Housing Law that authorizes municipalities to condemn land that is “necessary for the redevelopment project” requires the town to establish a definitive need to acquire the parcel in question for an identified redevelopment project. The property owner contended that the mere “stockpiling” of real estate land that might be useful for future redevelopment projects is not permitted. Read more

NJ HMFA SEEKS COMMENTS ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO LOW INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDITS QUALIFIED ACTION PLAN

December 5, 2018 | No Comments
Posted by Brian J. Shemesh

Co-authored by Michael A. Bruno and Kyle J. Campanile

For years the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program has been successful in catalyzing private investment into underserved communities to develop affordable housing options for citizens.  In short, the program is a 10-year tax incentive aimed at encouraging development of affordable residential rental housing.  The tax incentive is received by a developer after its application is approved, and thereafter the tax credits are typically syndicated to a third-party investor (thus generating liquid value for the developer).  The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (“HMFA”) has been particularly adept at managing this federal program, generating a significant demand for the Low Income Housing Tax Credits (“LIHTC”).  In fact, the HMFA estimates that demand for LIHTC’s exceeds supply almost three-to-one. Read more

SUPREME COURT DECLINES TO HEAR UNDESIGNATED REDEVELOPER’S APPEAL

November 8, 2018 | No Comments
Posted by Michael A. Bruno

Co-authored by Brian J. Shemesh and Kyle J. Campanile

The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently denied a petition for certification in the matter of Applied Monroe Lender v. City of Hoboken Planning Bd. and City of Hoboken, 234 N.J. 10, 187 A.3d 858 (Table). The petitioner, developer Applied Monroe Lender, LLC (“Applied”), owned property that had been designated as an area in need of redevelopment pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1 et seq. (“LRHL”) and was subject to a redevelopment plan adopted by the City of Hoboken.

Even though it had never been designated as a redeveloper, Applied sought to develop its property in accordance with the redevelopment plan, claiming that a redeveloper designation was not necessary based on the language of the redevelopment plan. The redevelopment plan did not specifically require such a designation, but made repeated references “redeveloper” and “redeveloper designation.” The City maintained that the plan required a redeveloper designation and refused to deem Applied’s submission for site plan approval “complete” until it had been designated. Read more

Is a Form of Rent Control Coming To New York City’s Commercial Spaces?

October 12, 2018 | No Comments
Posted by Donna A. McBarron

Commercial landlords and tenants should be aware of a bill that could significantly impact the commercial leasing landscape in New York City.  This proposal, named the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (“Act”), would require all commercial landlords to negotiate a new 10-year lease with a tenant whose lease expires on or after January 1, 2019.  Although there are limited exceptions, such as where the tenant is performing an illegal activity on the premises or has failed to pay rent three times after written notice and a 30-day period to cure, this essentially means that all commercial tenants will have the right to renew their leases even if the lease does not give them the express right to do so.  Such a requirement means that landlords lose their ability to free themselves of tenants who, for example, may pay their rent and may not be breaking any laws, but who have otherwise been an undesirable tenant. Read more

Federal Qualified Opportunity Zones

May 17, 2018 | No Comments
Posted by Michael A. Bruno

Co-Authored by Brian J. Shemesh

        An Introduction to the Newest Incentive Program

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017, includes certain tax incentives for investors engaged in the development of a Qualified Opportunity Zone through a qualified Opportunity Fund.  The goal of this legislation was to spur private investment in distressed areas.  Under the program, investors may reinvest capital gains from other sources in an Opportunity Fund in exchange for deferred, preferential or exempt tax treatment on historic and future capital gains.  This article will briefly summarize what a Qualified Opportunity Zone is and the benefits of investing in such an area through a Qualified Opportunity Fund.

What is a “Qualified Opportunity Zone” and where are they in New Jersey?

Subchapter Z of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides the basis for the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program.  The law provides each state the chance to nominate census tracts to be designated as a Qualified Opportunity Zone.  On March 10, 2018, Governor Murphy submitted a list of 169 census tracts to the U.S. Treasury.  On April 9, 2018, the Treasury Department released the full list of approved census tracts, which included all 169 census tracts nominated by Governor Murphy.  An interactive map, a list and other information regarding New Jersey’s Qualified Opportunity Zones is available at:

http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/lps/opp_zones.html Read more

The New Jersey Supreme Court Issues Its Gap Period Decision

January 18, 2017 | No Comments
Posted by Donna A. McBarron

On January 18, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that municipalities do have an obligation to satisfy the unmet affordable housing obligations arising from 1999 through 2015, the so-called “gap period.”   In a decision that will be hailed as a victory for affordable housing advocates and developers, and a loss for municipalities, the Court held that “the need of presently existing low- and moderate-income households formed during the gap period must be captured and included in setting affordable housing obligations for towns. . . .”  This need will be captured in a redefined “present need,” which previously only included the calculation of overcrowded and deficient housing units.   Thus, the affordable housing units which were lost during the period of time in which COAH failed to deliver a workable set of regulations will not be forever lost.  Once again, the Court welcomed legislative or executive action. Unless and until that happens, the gap period will need to be addressed in a municipal affordable housing plan.

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