Where Redevelopment Really Stands in New Jersey

Where does redevelopment stand in New Jersey? The answer is a little uncertain.

Cutoffs in State Funding

For most of the last quarter of a century, local governments in New Jersey have counted on the participation of the state to develop and implement programs for community revitalization. All that came to a screeching halt, though, when New Jersey’s governor cut off most state aid, mandating that they become more self-reliant. In response, local communities have sought to foster public-private relationships with businesses to create incentives for economic development. State government officials, most notably the New Jersey State Comptroller, have maligned these efforts, contending that the businesses are getting a handout, as they would have located in these communities anyway (this in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary).

To further complicate matters, New Jersey’s Local Finance Board issued a rule requiring that any local government receiving state transition aid must agree in writing to share certain revenues with school districts, even if a project has no relationship to schools or school children, and will not lead to an increase in the number of school children.

The Use of Redevelopment Bonds

One of the most effective tools available for redevelopment is the issuance of bonds under the Redevelopment Area Bond Financing Law. The advantages of such an approach include the ability to sell these bonds as a safe investment, secured by payments in lieu of real estate taxes (PILOTs), as well as a lien on the land and all improvements. Also, because the bonds are repaid from the PILOTs, they generate a source of funds for the project, so that the municipality does not have to come up with separate funds.

New Tax Credits Available

On January 6, Governor Chris Christie signed a new law, establishing the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program. Under the statute, companies looking to move into or stay in New Jersey can obtain a tax credit for significant capital investments. The program offers a credit of $5,000 to $8,000 for each job created or retained by the company, up to a ceiling of 100 jobs. The credits can be claimed for 10 years. The new program expands credits to municipalities throughout the state of New Jersey, based on planning areas and regions zoned for growth.

The Grow New Jersey program is an effort to expand on and improve the largely unsuccessful Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit (UTHTC) incentive program, which initially generated much interest, but carried certain requirements that made many businesses ineligible to participate. The new program expands the geographic areas, lessens the capital improvement thresholds, and focuses on job creation and retention.

Contact Del Duca Lewis

To schedule an appointment with a seasoned business lawyer, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-427-4200. We offer flexible meeting times to accommodate your schedule.

New Jersey’s Bi-Partisan Red Tape Review Commission—Putting Permitting Up Front

On September 23, 2010, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno signed Executive Order No. 41, creating a permanent Red Tape Commission. The Commission’s stated mission is to “create a business climate in New Jersey that facilitates job creation” by identifying and removing burdensome regulations so that the interaction between business and government is more productive. At the same time, the commission is charged with giving priority to public health, safety and the environment.

The creation of the Red Tape Review Commission followed other actions by New Jersey’s then Governor Christie. Here’s a brief chronology:

  • On January 20, 2010, Governor Christie froze all proposed regulations and ordered a 90 day moratorium on new proposals. Governor Christie also ordered all state departments to complete a review of their administrative regulations to ensure compliance with “Common Sense Principles” for rule making.
  • On that same day, Governor Christie created the “Red Tape Review Group,” which was tasked to provide a written report within 90 days, addressing all pending and proposed rules and regulations, and their potential effect on businesses and workers in New Jersey. The report was submitted to the Governor on April 19, 2010.
  • Pursuant to the study and report, 16 proposed regulations were withdrawn. After a 6 month study of existing regulations, six chapters of the Administrative Code were abolished, and the repeal or amendment of 130 regulations was proposed.
  • The New Jersey legislature has taken action to implement many of the reforms recommended by the Red Tape Review Group.

As a part of the initiative, Governor Christie issued a series of Common Sense Principles, set forth in Executive Order No. 2. One of the key principles was the adoption of the “time of decision” rule, which states that every permit or approval is governed by the rules in effect at the time of filing. The “time of decision” rule was subsequently enacted into law when Governor Christie signed S82 on May 5, 2010.

Some of the successes that have already come out of the Red Tape Review Commission include:

  • A new general permit from the Department of Environmental Protection that makes it faster and easier for small to moderate-sized manufacturers as well as office complexes, hospitals, schools and apartment complexes to turn energy used for heating into electricity.
  • The abandonment of a proposed regulation by the Division of Consumer Affairs, based on a recommendation by the Red Tape Review Commission.
  • The creation of uniform contracting requirements for social service organizations regulated by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Families.

Contact Del Duca Lewis

To schedule an appointment with a seasoned business lawyer, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-427-4200. We offer flexible meeting times to accommodate your schedule.

Green is Here to Stay: How Eco is Growing in Commercial Real Estate Projects

If you are planning on building a new commercial structure, one of your primary considerations will likely be whether or not to use green technologies to construct the building, as well as whether or not to integrate green technologies, such as solar, wind or other alternative sources of energy. As the scientific evidence continues to mount showing that fossil fuel sources are rapidly depleting, it behooves any company planning or considering new commercial construction to look carefully at the ways green technology can be used to save costs.

The Focus of Green Building Strategies

One of the principle goals of green building is to maximize sustainability, i.e., to incorporate technologies that minimize waste and maximize the reusability of resources. The primary ways that green technology seeks to promote sustainability are:

  • By encouraging site and structure design efficiency—This involves minimizing the total environmental impact, such as the effect on water tables, flood zones and local ecosystems.
  • By promoting energy efficiency—Energy efficiency is maximized through the use of high R value insulation, as well as thermal windows. Passive solar power may be used to augment other forms of energy. Windows and doors can also be placed to maximize the use of the sun’s heat and energy.
  • By promoting water efficiency—Green building involves minimizing the disposal of water and maximizing the use of recycled water. It also includes low flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and the use of on-demand water heaters.
  • By promoting materials efficiency—This includes the use of “green” lumber from forests that are considered green, as well as the use of rapidly renewable products, such as bamboo or straw. It also encourages the use of recycled materials, such as stone, metal and sand. It calls for the use of building materials that require minimal amounts of energy to produce, such as adobe, clay, concrete and compressed earth blocks.

Cost may be an initial concern when you are deciding whether to go green. There are the costs of photo-voltaic products, new appliances and other items. According to studies, most construction projects involving green technologies have about a 2% increase in cost. The analysis, however, needs to consider the up-front costs with the long term costs, as studies have also shown that there can be up to 20% savings in costs over the life of a building when green technologies are integrated. These savings come from a variety of sources, with the bulk from decreased energy costs. There may also be tax deductions and there can be higher worker productivity. Studies also show that green commercial property obtained higher rents, higher sales prices and higher occupancy rates.

NJ DEP Releases NJ Land Leasing Process for State Land

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has created a special panel to overhaul the state’s method of leasing property to private companies that run electric lines, cables, pipelines, and towers across state-owned land and water.

The new panel is charged with the responsibility of examining how lease agreements are currently structured and created.  Based upon its findings the panel will develop and recommend a new leasing formula designed to treat all companies that do business with the state fairly and equally.  The panel’s recommendations are expected later this year and will be presented to Governor Christie.

In previous years, leases were not crafted with a consistent and logical approach and the state apparently did not keep accurate records of all the lease transactions.  DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said “…an improved process would be fairer for businesses that seek to use state lands, allowing them to better predict and understand costs associated with leasing those lands…If we want companies to do business in New Jersey, we must have a system that is clear and easily understood.”  The Commissioner went on to say that businesses should be able to clearly understand the state’s mitigation rules, formula and know how much money it will cost them.”

The DEP owns 800,000 acres of land  accessed or used by public companies and in many cases operating on outdated and sometimes expired agreements.  As part of the panel’s review it will do a thorough inventory and cataloguing of DEP land agreements.  The goal is to “establish a framework for a system that is right for the taxpayers and the environment, while also being fair to businesses.”

New Jersey real estate attorneys provide advice on leasing and land use

Leasing and land use agreements can be complex and requires the assistance of an experienced New Jersey real estate attorneyContact us online or call 856-427-4200 to discuss your leasing and land use matter today.

 

Introducing Del Duca Lewis And Its New Image

Cherry Hill, NJ – – Local commercial real estate and business law firm Del Duca Law Firm unveils its new image and website and is pleased to announce that it is re-introducing itself as Del Duca Lewis with the naming of partner, Karen Taylor-Lewis, Esq.

“Karen and I have been working together for seven years and is a vital part of the practice. To continue delivering extraordinary service to our growing list of clients, re-naming the firm to include her name is a natural progression of our business relationship together,“ commented managing partner Damien O. Del Duca, Esq., a Haddonfield resident.

“I am delighted to transition into this next phase of my professional relationship with Del Duca Lewis and look forward to continue to grow the firm with Damien and other members of our team,” offered partner Karen Taylor-Lewis, a Gloucester Township resident.

Del Duca Lewis launches its new website as a resource and to foster closer communication with its clients, industry contacts, and others who may have pressing commercial legal needs.

Del Duca Lewis is a full-service commercial law firm whose goal it is to provide clients with prompt, efficient and high quality personal service. The firm handles all aspects of real estate and other commercial matters, from negotiation to closing, including leasing, acquisitions, land use approvals, and financing on behalf of lenders and borrowers, and all related issues.

Located in South Jersey, Del Duca Lewis services clients throughout the Delaware Valley.

To learn more, visit www.delducalewis.com.

The NJ Solar Energy Boom

When you think of New Jersey, leader in solar energy might not be the first thought that comes to mind. But in fact, according to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities the state has more solar power installed per capita than California.

In 1999, New Jersey passed a law that created the Clean Energy Program, which is a state wide program that offers rebates, programs, and services for residents, business owners, and local governments to help them save energy, money and the environment.  The program has also created a market for solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), which pays solar consumers to generate solar power. With a combination of SRECs and federal tax credits, hypothetically solar energy consumers could save thousands of dollars annually on their electricity bills.

In 2010, the state legislature also passed the Solar Energy Advancement and Fair Competition Act which requires the state to get a percentage of its electricity from solar sources. Energy providers for the state were required to collectively purchase at least 300GWh of solar-generated electricity in the first year and in each successive year the solar energy requirement increases as much as 20 percent until 2026.

Other recent environmental laws have created a commission to study the impact of solar and renewable energy on property values, land use, planning, and development – and projected cost savings for the state.

Recently, Governor Christie released the state’s 2011 Energy Master Plan (EMP) which has the goal of promoting energy solutions that are efficient and cost-effective. The EMP effects policy changes meant to reduce the financial burden of state utility providers in promoting clean energy. The impact of the EMP on New Jersey’s clean energy initiatives is yet to be seen but some fear that the state’s role as a leading solar power provider could be in danger.

Contact a New Jersey Real Estate Attorney Today

Solar and renewable energy are the wave of the future and its impact on real estate, land use, and development is yet to be fully seen. From the most complex commercial matter to single family properties our NJ real estate attorneys  can advise you on how renewable energy affects your property.  Contact us online or call 856-427-4200 today to schedule a consultation.