Governor Signs Permit Extension Act of 2008
On June 23, 2008, finding that there exists a state of national recession, both houses of the State Legislature passed the Permit Extension Act of 2008 (the "Act"). The Act was signed into law by Governor Corzine on September 8, 2008. Realizing that the expiration of governmental permits and approvals and the need to seek extension of the same can place a heavy burden on the already suffering development, construction and lending industries, the Act suspends the running period for certain building and land use approvals that are "in existence" as of January 1, 2007 (the "Commencement Date"). For any of the covered class of approvals that are in existence as of the Commencement Date, the Act tolls the running of the period of approval until July 1, 2010 (the "End Date").
It is important to note that the Act does not extend the applicable approval period for more than six months after the End Date. This means that if, on the Commencement Date, your permit or approval has an approval period which is still valid for one year, even though the running of approval periods are tolled, your approval period would only be extended six months beyond the End Date. Thus, any approval in existence between the Commencement Date and the End Date, which has a six month or greater life and which is scheduled to expire between July 1, 2007 and January 1, 2011, will expire on January 1, 2011. Any permit or approval whose approval period extends beyond January 1, 2011 will not be affected by the Act.
Generally, permits and approvals usually required for subdivision and site plan approval will be extended. Some (but not all) of the permits/approvals not extended by the Act include:
- Permits that are in defined "environmentally sensitive areas":
- Areas designated as Planning Area 4B or Planning Area 5 by the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in effect at the time the Act is signed.
- A critical environmental site.
- The Highlands Region, except for areas designated for growth in the Highlands Regional Master Plan.
- The Pinelands Area, except for areas designated for growth in the Comprehensive Management Plan.
- Department of Transportation permits and approvals (except for Right-of-Way permits).
- Permits and approvals issued under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act (except where work has already begun).
- Any permit or approval issued by the federal government or any federal agency or any permit or approval where the duration of the permit or approval is specified by federal law or regulation.
Additionally, when any permit which is based upon connecting to a sanitary sewer system would be tolled under the Act, the tolling is contingent upon the applicable treatment facility having sufficient capacity to accommodate the approved/permitted actions. If sufficient capacity does not exist, those with extensions would have priority for future allocation of capacity. Finally the DEP commissioner will retain the right to revoke or modify permits or approvals where so authorized.