New Jersey Permit Extension Act Amended—Qualified Permits and Approvals Now Run Through End of 2014—More Permits Subject to Extension—Extensions Retroactive

In response to the economic challenges facing New Jersey when the recession hit in 2008, lawmakers passed, and then Governor John Corzine signed, The Permit Extension Act of 2008 (the PEA). Acknowledging that obtaining necessary permits and approvals can be time-consuming and costly, the PEA sought to reduce the risk that development projects that could substantially benefit New Jersey would be abandoned before the local and national economy had an opportunity to recover.

The original bill tolled the expiration date of all qualified permits and approvals to July 1, 2010. Unfortunately, the recession has lasted longer than the framers of the original statute anticipated. Accordingly, the bill has been amended twice, with the current termination date for qualified approvals and permits set at December 31, 2014, and a grace period extending until June 30, 2015.

In order to counteract significant opposition from community activists and environmentalists, the original act specifically excluded certain types of approvals or projects. A number of those exceptions still apply, including:

  • Permits or approvals in “environmentally sensitive areas”
  • State Department of Transportation permits, other than right-of-way permits
  • Permits or approvals subject to the provisions of the New Jersey Flood Hazard Area Control Act, except where a project was already underway
  • Permits or approvals issued by the federal government, or where the term of the permit is set by federal law

Areas that were originally excluded by the PEA, but where developers may now (and retroactively) obtain an extension include:

  • The Highlands planning area—A permit or approval may be extended for projects in this area as long as they are not located in State Planning Areas 4B or 5, have not been designated a critical environmental site, and are not in an area that has adopted a Highlands master plan element.
  • Municipalities listed in the Pinelands Commission comprehensive management plan that are not designated as a critical environmental site, or in State Planning Areas 4B or 5

Contact the Business and Real Estate Attorneys at Del Duca Lewis

Our lawyers bring more than five decades of experience and knowledge to businesses and business owners throughout southern New Jersey and the metropolitan Philadelphia area, handling a broad range of commercial and real estate matters. In recognition of the skill we offer our clients, attorney Damien Del Duca has been named a New Jersey Super Lawyer. To schedule an appointment to discuss your legal issues, contact our office online or call us at 856-427-4200.

The New Jersey Permit Extension Act

An Overview of the Purpose and Provisions of the Act

In September, 2008, concerned about the growing economic and financial challenges facing business and commerce in New Jersey, then Governor John Corzine signed into law NJSA 40:55D-135.1 et seq., known as The Permit Extension Act of 2008 (The PEA). The principal function of the PEA was to extend the terms of qualified governmental permits and approvals to July 1, 2010. According to sponsors of the bill, the fundamental objective of the statute was to minimize the risk that development projects would be abandoned before the economy had a chance to recover from the 2008 recession. Since the original bill was signed, it has been amended twice, with the expiration period now running through December 31, 2014, with a grace period through June 30, 2015.

To obtain the necessary support for the law, developers had to strike a compromise with opponents, including community activists and environmentalists. As a result, certain types of permits may not be extended under the statute:

  • Approvals in “environmentally sensitive areas”
  • Permits governed by the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, unless work had already begun
  • Permits or approvals subject to the Pinelands Protection Act, if the extension would require approval from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, or would violate federal or state statute or regulation
  • State DOT permits, except for right-of-way permits
  • Any permit or approval from the federal government, or any permit or approval that has an expiration date or duration established by federal law

The PEA is also inapplicable to approvals or permits in coastal centers, as set forth in the Coastal Area Facility Review Act, unless the developer filed an application for plan endorsement to the New Jersey State Planning Commission by March 15, 2007, and was in compliance with coastal zoning management rules.

Contact Del Duca Lewis

At the law office of Del Duca Lewis, we offer five decades of commercial real estate and business law experience to clients across southern New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area. As a testament to our knowledge, skill, experience and effectiveness, attorney Damien Del Duca has been named a New Jersey Super Lawyer. To schedule an appointment to discuss your real estate or business law needs, contact our office online or call us at 856-427-4200.