March 29, 2013 - The Christie Administration submitted today the State's "Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan" to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for review and approval. Highlights from the press release are:
March 15, 2013 - A Smart Growth Economic Development Coalition bill strongly supported by the NJBA was unanimously released by committees in both Houses. A3680 (Coutinho) was released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee and was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. S2583 (Lesniak) was released by the Senate Economic Growth Committee and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. NJBA CEO Tim Touhey was at both committee hearings to testify on behalf of the NJBA.
March 8, 2013 - An NJBA strongly supported bill has been released by committees in both Houses. S2447 (Van Drew/Rice) was released by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee and was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. A3615 (Coutinho) was released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee and awaiting consideration by the full Assembly. NJBA Officer Dave Fisher and Rob Beckelman of Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis, LLP were at both committee hearings to testify on behalf of the NJBA.
Governor Christie conditionally vetoed the NJBA strongly supported S2157 (Lesniak), the "New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act." This bill would have established the "New Jersey Foreclosure Transformation Program" as a temporary program within the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA). The program would have acted as a clearing house for foreclosed residential properties by working with municipal governments, housing non-profits and qualified investors to effectively address the excess inventory of foreclosed residential properties in an expedited fashion.
January 24, 2013 - Governor Chris Christie announced that the State is adopting the recently released Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps as the State standard. This Emergency Rule, which will be issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, will be effective immediately. Governor Christie noted that the State decided to move forward with the adoption rather than waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to formally adopt the maps 18 to 24 months from now, a timeframe that the Governor stated is "unacceptable". The new ABFE maps reflect the most accurate, recent information, convey the risks involved, and over the long run reduce flood insurance rates.
December 14, 2012 - NJBA was invited to testify at the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee's hearing on the economic impact of Superstorm Sandy. NJBA President Winfield "Ziggy" Ziegenfuss, Jr. and NJBA Treasurer David Fisher were joined by Jeffrey Otteau of Otteau Valuation Group to discuss the storm's impact on New Jersey's homes and businesses and the construction activity that will ensue in the following months and years. Mr. Ziegenfuss informed the committee that "the process of rebuilding will be complex and involve many diverse entities...[but] we are still in [a] early stage of the process." Mr. Fisher added that "the NJBA stands ready to participate in the policy discussions and is eager to offer its guidance, support and expertise so that together, we can begin to rebuild New Jersey."
December 7, 2012 - The NJBA strongly supported S2156 (Lesniak)/A3248 (Green) was signed into law by Governor Christie. S2156/A3248 establishes an expedited foreclosure procedure for vacant and abandoned property in uncontested matters. This law gives the courts the tools necessary to handle not only the existing backlog of pending foreclosures, but also the large number of expected foreclosures now that the judicial moratorium has been lifted.
October 26, 2012 - A joint hearing was held by the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee and the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee on the NJ HomeKeeper Program and the Program's problems with utilizing $300 million in federal money to provide financial assistance to NJ homeowners in danger of foreclosure. Following the joint hearing, the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee released a package of bills to help mitigate the impact that the pipeline of foreclosures will have on NJ's housing market. The Committee released the following NJBA supported bills:
October 19, 2012 - The NJBA strongly supported S2156 (Lesniak)/ A3248 (Green) was overwhelmingly approved by the General Assembly (79-0). S2156/A3248 would establish an expedited foreclosure procedure for vacant and abandoned property in uncontested matters. This bill would give the courts the tools necessary to handle not only the existing backlog of pending foreclosures, but also the large number of expected foreclosures now that the judicial moratorium has been lifted. S2156/A3248 has now passed both Houses and is awaiting the Governor's consideration.
October 26, 2012 - The Senate approved (22-17) the NJBA strongly supported S2157 (Lesniak), the "New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act." This bill would establish the "New Jersey Foreclosure Transformation Program" as a temporary program within the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA). The program will act as a clearing house for foreclosed residential properties by working with municipal governments, housing non-profits and qualified investors to effectively address the excess inventory of foreclosed residential properties in an expedited fashion.
P.L. 2012, c.48 (September 21, 2012)
The NJBA strongly supported Permit Extension Act, A1338/S743 (Greenwald, DeCroce, Green/Sarlo, Oroho, Stack), extends the expiration date of state and local government approvals until December 31, 2014. The bill also contains a new definition for "extension area" to clarify the underlying legislative intent of the 2008 Permit Extension Act that approvals in designated areas of the Highlands and Pinelands should remain valid through the extension period.
August 10 - Two NJBA strongly supported bills were released by the Senate Economic Growth Committee. NJBA CEO Timothy Touhey testified in support of bills and warned that an excess inventory of foreclosed homes or distressed properties will only continue to be a drain on the housing market, depress home values and delay an economic recovery.
August 10 - A Smart Growth Economic Development Coalition initiative supported by the NJBA was signed into law by Governor Christie. S1562/A3154 (Cunningham, Lesniak/Coutinho, Prieto) amends the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act to increase the cap on the total amount of tax credits authorized under the act by $250,000,000 to a total of $1,750,000,000. The bill also amends the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act by extending the application deadline to July 1, 2014
August 1 - The NJDEP will begin accepting Waiver Rule applications on August 1, 2012. According to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, "This rule provides us with a modest measure of flexibility to manage special circumstances but through a process that will be used under limited circumstances and with total transparency." The NJBA and other business groups vigorously supported the adoption of the DEP Waiver rule and worked to stop SCR59 (Buono/Gordon) and ACR37 (Barnes/McKeon), which would have begun the process whereby the Legislature can invalidate the rule. For more information on the Waiver Rule, please visit the DEP Waiver Rule webpage at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/waiverrule/
July 20 - In response to an emergent application brought by the Fair Share Housing Center and the NJ State League of Municipalities, on Friday, July 13, 2012, the Appellate Division directed the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) to provide towns with a fair hearing process prior to taking the approximately $160 million of trust funds dedicated to creating homes for low and moderate income households in this State. According to the decision, before any transfer is effectuated, COAH must provide the affected municipality with written notice describing the exact amount of the funds intended for transfer and how such amount was calculated.
July 20 - The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) reported that all counties have met the legislated deadline set by the 2011 Water Quality Management Planning law for the submission of maps designating the sewer service areas (SSA). NJDEP indicates that the maps and plans, which were submitted by last Sunday, have been deemed to be in compliance with regulatory requirements. While the draft maps have not been posted to NJDEP's website yet, many Counties have posted them to their websites (primarily for the Planning Department). Public hearings will be scheduled in each county. NJDEP anticipates that each map would be formally adopted this year.
June 30 - NJBA strongly supported S1566/A2168 (Lesniak/Green), the "New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act," was passed by both the Assembly (44-33-0) and Senate (21-18) but has already been vetoed by Governor Christie. The bill would have established a NJ Foreclosure Relief Corporation to act as a clearing-house for foreclosed residential properties. Unfortunately, Governor Christie disagreed with the Legislature and vetoed this legislation stating that he is "rejecting the attempt to simply add millions of dollars to the budget without identifying offsetting reductions."
June 30 - NJBA worked closely with the NJ Apartment Association (NJAA) to oppose A2737/S897 (Coughlin/Vitale) which excludes senior citizen housing from the 1987 rent control law which exempted newly constructed rental multiple dwellings from local rent control ordinances. A2737/S897 would have a chilling effect on the future production of senior citizen rental properties and significantly undermines the intent of the 1987 law which was enacted to encourage the production of new rental housing.
June 8 - Two NJBA supported bills were unanimously released from the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee. A1521 (Burzichelli, Rumana) modifies process for contested case hearings by OAL with regard to telephone and video conferences, delegation of final decision authority, oral decisions, checklist decisions, electronic filings, and settlements. A1524 (Burzichelli, Coughlin) revises "Administrative Procedure Act" concerning conflicts between rules of different State agencies. Both bills are now awaiting consideration by the full Assembly.
May 25th - NJBA Environmental Counsel Paul Schneider (Giordano Halleran & Ciesla, P.C.) recently testified before the Senate Energy and Environment Committee, as well as the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee in support of the DEP Waiver Rule and against a concurrent resolution which begins the process to role back the Waiver Rule. SCR 59 (Buono/Gordon) and ACR 37 (Barnes/McKeon), determine that the adopted rules and regulations establishing a procedure for the waiver of certain DEP rules are inconsistent with legislative intent. This resolution is the first step in the process whereby the Legislature can effectively invalidate the DEP Waiver Rule. Despite opposition by the NJBA and other business groups, the resolution was released by both committees along party lines and ACR37 was approved by the full Assembly (48-30) on May 24th. SCR 29 heads to the full Senate for final Senate consideration.
May 25th - An NJBA strongly supported bill, A2584 (Ramos, Caputo, Amodeo, Burzichelli), passed the Assembly 77-1. The bill requires the DEP to authorize the correction of minor technical and administrative violations of DEP permitting rules and establishes a new class of minor DEP violations. This bill is consistent with existing State law, which currently requires the DEP to allow for the correction of occasional, unintended, and non-negligent violations of permitting rules and procedures by a permittee or permit applicant, so long as those violations do not materially or substantially undermine or impair the goals of the associated regulatory program, have existed for less than 12 months, and are easily corrected. In addition, the bill provides that the DEP must comply with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act" in adopting a technical manual that outlines permit application and review procedures. The Senate companion, S2025 (Van Drew), has been proposed for introduction.
March 15, 2012 - The Highlands Council voted 8-6 to terminate executive director Eileen Swan. Swan had held that position since April of 2007. Deputy Director and chief counsel, Tom Borden submitted his resignation after the meeting. Swan's termination was loudly protested by environmental groups, but not by landowners or business interests.
March 9, 2012 - The NJDEP adopted the much-anticipated Waiver rule this week, an initiative that has been greatly supported by the NJBA. The effective date of the rule is August 1, 2012, at which time NJDEP will begin accepting waiver rule applications. The NJDEP makes clear that a transparent process would be used as waiver applications and decisions would be posted on its website and/or the DEP Bulletin. The press release states: "A lack of flexibility can sometimes produce unreasonable, unfair or unintended results that actually undermine the goal the rule or requirement was intended to attain,'' said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "This rule provides us with a modest measure of flexibility to manage special circumstances but through a process that will be used under limited circumstances and with total transparency.''
March 8, 2012 - The Appellate Division of the NJ Superior Court invalidated Reorganization Plan 001-2011 which abolished COAH. According to the decision, Governor Christie exceeded his authority under the executive reorganization plan by eliminating COAH and transferring its duties to the Commissioner of the DCA. The Governor argued that he had the power to abolish an independent agency created by the Legislature that was "in but not of" a department of the state's executive branch. According to Presiding Judge Carchman, "...the power to create and abolish such agencies and to alter such functions resided within the legislative process."
January 17, 2012 - Governor Christie took final action on a number of lame duck bills supported by the NJBA. In addition to the signing the Water Quality Management Plan (WMP) bill S3156/A4335, the Governor signed into law the following bills:
On January 9, 2012 the Legislature gave final approval to a bill amending the Water Quality Planning Act that will avoid the automatic withdrawal of sewer service areas. The legislation also includes other reforms to the water quality management planning process. The bill now awaits Governor Christie's signature.
The New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA) and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (Department) have engaged in a series of successful meetings intended to make the DCA implementation of the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFDA) more transparent to the development community. Toward that end, the NJBA and the Department want to make the development community aware of the resolution of some of the issues that have been discussed...
September 21, 2011 - The NJBA continued its participation in the Lt. Governor’s Red Tape Review Commission at the latest hearing in Atlantic City. NJBA Environmental Counsel Michael Gross of Giordano Halleran & Ciesla testified about concerns with two State environmental regulations, the Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) rules and the Stormwater Managment rules. He informed that Commission that the regulatory programs developed under these rules unnecessarily impose procedural burdens and inefficiencies that result in economic hardships on the regulated community and the public.
September 19, 2011 - The NJBA testified in support of the DEP’s Waiver Rule by opposing Senate Concurrent Resolution 239 (Buono), which determines that the proposed DEP rules and regulations establishing a procedure for waiver of DEP rules are inconsistent with legislative intent. Despite opposition by the NJBA and other business groups, the measure passed the Senate Environment Committee along party lines and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
August 25, 2011 - NJBA was in attendance with our Smart Growth Coalition partners as Acting Governor Kim Guadagno signed into law S2974/A4221, which extends the moratorium on the 2.5% non-residential development fee for a two year period (until July 1, 2013).
July 26, 2011 - In front of a gathering of the press, local officials, legislators, and supporters, including NJBA President Dominick Paragano, Governor Christie signed the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act (UTHTCA) amendments into law.
July 8, 2011 -NJBA supported S483 (Lesniak, Coutinho), the Vertical GDP bill, was signed into law by Governor Christie.
June 28, 2011- Governor Christie filed a government reorganization plan this week that "[c]ontinu[es] his commitment to making state government smaller, more efficient and cost effective for New Jersey taxpayers."
May 16, 2011 - The annual revision to the Residential Site Improvement Standards (RSIS) was adopted and became effective on May 16, 2011.
May 5, 2011 - The Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee took several hours of testimony on the state of New Jersey's construction and real estate sectors in New Jersey.
May 5, 2011 - The Time of Application law officially takes effect today, May 5, 2011.
April 29, 2011 - Governor Christie signed 2 NJBA supported bills aimed at providing tax relief for the State's businesses.
April 22, 2011 - New Jersey's legislative redistricting process came to a close when tiebreaking member Rutgers Professor Alan Rosenthal Rosenthal cast the decisive vote to approve the election map proposed by the Democrats.
March 31, 2011 - The New Jersey Supreme Court will review the October 8, 2010 Appellate Division decision that invalidated the Council on Affordable Housing's (COAH) flawed Third Round rules.
By: Dennis A. Estis, Steven Nudelman and Kevin J. Murphy of Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis, LLP
After a year-long, intensive study by the New Jersey Law Revision Commission, the New Jersey Legislature and Governor Chris Christie enacted on January 5, 2011 a much needed revision to the New Jersey Construction Lien Law (N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-1, et seq.). The amendments clarify the statute, which was last amended in 1994, and align it with numerous appellate court decisions. The amendments, which take effect immediately, include several significant changes which owners, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers must understand and appreciate.
January 5, 2011 - Three bills from a package of bills aimed at protecting the Barnegat Bay and improving water quality were signed into law on January 5, 2011.
On December 13, 2010 S1 (Lesniak/ Bateman)/ A3447 (Green/Jasey) was approved by the New Jersey General Assembly by a vote of 43-32-0. A copy of the bill as approved by the Assembly is available at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S0500/1_R2.PDF.
On October 8, 2010 the Appellate Division addressed 22 separate challenges to the revised COAH 3rd round rules through an opinion which once again invalidated several rule provisions including growth share methodology and requirements which fail to provide sufficient incentives for affordable housing construction. Declaring that COAH's revised rules "suffer from many of the same deficiencies as the original third round rules", the court has given the agency five months to adopt new rules based on a 2nd round methodology which was in place in the late eighties and nineties. NJBA's Land Use Counsel, Tom Carroll, Esq. and Steve Eisdorfer, Esq. of Master Sponsor firm Hill Wallack successfully litigated NJBA's challenges to the 3rd round rules. NJBA intends to hold a seminar in the near future to discuss the practical implications of the decision.
A copy of the decision is available by clicking here.
On Friday, July 23, 2010 Governor Christie vetoed A1678 (Greenwald/Prieto/ Sarlo/ Van Drew) which would have established a $15,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit.
Senator Lesniak is the prime sponsor of legislation to change the way municipalities would meet their affordable housing obligations. The current version of the bill is known as the Senate Committee Substitute for the Senate Committee Substitute for S1. It replaces all prior versions of the bill and was approved by the full Senate on June 10, 2010 by a vote of 28-3.
On April 19th, the Red Tape Review Group, chaired by Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, issued its final report, recommending policy actions to spur economic growth and job creation. NJBA participated in the process, both formally and informally, recommending sweeping changes to the State’s regulatory framework. Many of the Association’s recommendations are included in the full report, which is available by clicking here.
List of major provisions in SCS for S1, Lesniak, released from Senate Economic Growth Committee.
Revised June 7, 2010
Over the past year, several pieces of legislation have been approved by the Legislature to assist in the recovery of the homebuilding industry.
On January 20, 2010, one day after taking office with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Governor Christie signed eight executive orders. The first four focus on reforming the State’s regulatory morass. They include directives which impose a State “time of decision” mandate, create a “Red Tape Review Group”, and freeze pending state regulations.
On July 27, 2009 NJBA added another win to our score sheet with the signing of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 (P.L.2009, c. 90). The law is yet another initiative intended to spur economic development, and, at NJBA's request, includes provisions to encourage residential development in urban areas.
On July 2, 2009 Governor Jon Corzine enacted S2577 (Sarlo/Vitale/Greenwald/Malone). The law takes effect immediately and would allow for the conversion of certain age-restricted housing developments pending approval by a municipal planning or zoning board. In order for a project to be eligible for a conversion, a developer must meet certain requirements: