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Permit Extension Act Renewed

On September 21, 2012, Governor Christie signed legislation passed by the Senate and Assembly in June 2012 extending the Permit Extension Act ("PEA").

Under the prior version of the PEA, qualifying approvals in effect as of January 1, 2007 were set to lapse the end of this calendar year or within a six month period thereafter. The law now provides additional relief, and maintains the validity of qualifying approvals until at least December 31, 2014 and possibly until June 30, 2015 based upon the additional six month tolling provision.

In addition to the extension of the tolling provisions, the new law implements several other noteworthy changes. The definition of "approval" was expanded to include sewer capacity reservation agreements with sewerage authorities and government entities. The law also provides that newly defined "extension areas" are not considered to be "environmentally sensitive areas". The "extension areas" definition includes, among others, State Plan endorsed areas, Pinelands growth areas, and the Highlands planning area and centers. The law is retroactive with respect to approvals for parcels located in the newly defined "extension areas". For Highlands planning areas (with the exception of centers), the tolling provisions are not applicable if, as of May 1, 2012, the subject municipality adopted a conforming Highlands master plan element, land use ordinance, or environmental resource inventory. This limitation will be applicable for only a few municipalities.

The law provides critical relief for development projects stalled by the economic downturn and provides additional time to pursue opportunities for sites with qualifying approvals. Property owners and developers should take action to confirm whether existing approvals continue to be covered by the PEA and whether the PEA may be retroactively applied to approvals based on the new "extension areas" definition.

This information is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions or need assistance in determining whether the PEA applies to your project approvals, please do not hesitate to contact one of the attorneys in our Environmental Department at (732) 219-5486.

For more information on the Permit Extension Act or other Environmental Law issues, please visit our Environmental Law Blog
Tags: Steven M. Dalton, Environmental Law

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