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.

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