Permits to Be Extended Under Permit Extension Act of 2020 Must Be Registered by October 8, 2020
We previously reported on the adoption of the Permit Extension Act of 2020, which provided a mechanism for tolling or extension of permits and approvals during the public health emergency associated with COVID-19, and extending those approvals for “at least six months beyond the conclusion” of the associated extension period. Under the Permit Extension Act of 2020, all approvals that are subject to tolling or extension were required to be registered “with the department” within 30 days of the publication of a notice in the New Jersey Register. That registration deadline has now been established as October 8, 2020. Regardless of whether your permit or approval expires in the next few months or late next year, it may be prudent to register now, particularly given the differences between the prior iterations of the Permit Extension Act and the present statutory language, and the lack of a clear end of the present public health emergency.
The Department of Environmental Protection published a notice in the New Jersey Register on September 8, 2020, announcing that the registration period for approvals has begun. Notably, the notice provides that “[t]his registration requirement applies to specified permits, approvals, and deadlines from a broad range of State and local entities – not just the Department.” It is not clear under the statutory language that all local approvals are required to register, but this notice suggests that the Department has taken the position that all permits and approvals – including, but not limited to, local site plan and subdivision approvals, municipal or county sewer approvals, utility approvals, agreements for use of sewer capacity, and construction permits – are subject to registration. It also provides a website for registration of permits and approvals to be tolled or extended by the Act: https://www.nj.gov/dep/pea2020.
Similar notices were published by the Department of Community Affairs, Department of Transportation, and New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. It appears that the Department of Environmental Protection is going to be the lead agency in managing all of these extensions, though individual agencies have announced additional registration requirements. For instance, the Department of Transportation has required that notices of extension be provided to both NJDEP and NJDOT, with the notice to NJDOT in writing.
Each notice directs that permits and approvals for which tolling or extension are sought must be registered within 30 days of the publication of the notice. Again, the deadline for registration of all permits and approvals is October 8, 2020. Pursuant to the Permit Extension Act of 2020, “the running period of any approval not registered pursuant to this section shall not be suspended for the COVID-19 extension period.”
If you have specific questions regarding the permits or approvals you have secured for a particular project, please contact us to review whether the permit is subject to extension under the Permit Extension Act of 2020, whether registration is required, and, if so, with which agency or agencies. Given the indeterminate timeframe for the public health emergency related to COVID-19, these extensions could be significant, and securing an extension or tolling now could be crucial to your project’s future success.