Tagged: Highlands

Jordan Asch to Participate in Upcoming NJSBA Panel Discussion – “Resolving Everyday Environmental Problems” – November 5

Jordan M. Asch, an Associate in the Gibbons Environmental Department, will participate in an upcoming panel discussion presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association, in cooperation with its Environmental Law Section. The panel, “Resolving Everyday Environmental Problems,” will take place virtually on Thursday, November 5 from 9:00 – 10:30 am. The discussion will cover some of the complex, and often expensive, environmental issues that small businesses and homeowners may face, including site remediation issues, funding sources, environmental permitting, and the permitting process. Attorneys who represent small business owners that own or lease real property, or that may develop or improve real property, as well as homeowners that may face environmental remediation or permitting issues are encouraged to attend. For additional information or to register, click here.

We Have to Talk: New Jersey Appellate Division Invalidates Discharge Permit for Failure of Agency to Consult with Highlands Council

In the latest twist in a saga that began in 2002, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) failure to consult with the Highlands Council invalidated a wastewater discharge permit that DEP had issued to the prospective developer of a site located in the “planning area” covered by the state’s Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (Highlands Act). As a result, the story is guaranteed to continue for several more months and perhaps, in light of likely appeals, several more years. Bellemead Development Corporation first received a New Jersey Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) permit for the discharge of treated wastewater from a planned development in Tewksbury in 1998. In 2002, with the permit set to expire the next year, Bellemead applied for a renewal of its original permit. DEP’s denial of the application in 2006 set in motion a chain of administrative hearings, apparent settlements, and new applications that culminated in DEP’s issuance of a new permit in 2014. The Township of Readington and several citizen groups appealed. The appellants pointed to a number of procedural missteps by DEP, but the court focused on the department’s failure to consult the Highlands Council prior to issuing the permit. The Council was created by the 2004 Highlands Act, which regulates...

Highlands Council Schedules Stakeholder Outreach Workshops and Will Accept Written Comments

The New Jersey Highlands Council has scheduled three Stakeholder Outreach Workshops to solicit public input on the Highlands Regional Master Plan (RMP) as part of its RMP Monitoring Program. According to public notices issued by the Highlands Council, the workshops are intended to provide members of the public with an opportunity to learn more about the monitoring program and to provide input. The notices also state, “[t]he Monitoring Program evaluates progress toward achieving the goals of the Highlands Regional Master Plan,” and “[t]he program requires identification of indicators and milestones to measure the impact of the Regional Master Plan on water resources, agriculture, housing, transportation, and economic development within the Highlands Region.”

Court Overrules DEP, Finds Developer Was Entitled to Exemption From Highlands Act

The New Jersey Appellate Division delivered a rebuke to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on August 1, finding that DEP’s Commissioner ignored undisputed evidence and made critical legal errors in holding that two development projects did not qualify for an exemption from the strict requirements of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act. The court’s decision in Lakeside Manor v. State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection reversed the Commissioner’s decision, finding that the developer had satisfied all statutory requirements for the exemption.

New Jersey Legislature Extends Special Appraisal Rules for Land Preservation Efforts in Highlands Region

Owners of land subject to the 2004 Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (Highlands Act) who preserve their land under the Green Acres Program or the State Farmland Preservation Program will benefit from special appraisal rules for five more years, thanks to legislation signed into law by Governor Christie on September 9. Under the “dual appraisal” provision, which expired last year but has now been extended to 2014, landowners receive two appraisals — one based on current property value, and one based on pre-Highlands Act zoning and other restrictions — and the higher appraisal is used as the basis for negotiation with the State on the appropriate payment.

Yes, Building in the Highlands Preservation Area is Possible: Court Upholds NJDEP Exemption for Church Project as “Reconstruction” Within “Footprint” of Previous Development

New Jersey’s Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (Highlands Act), which created and granted substantial powers to a regional Council, has engendered significant controversy, especially with respect to the strict development restrictions it imposes within a statutorily defined preservation area. Certain redevelopment projects, however, are exempt from those restrictions, and a recent Appellate Division upheld the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) interpretation of key statutory provisions when it determined that a multi-purpose redevelopment project qualified for such an exemption.

Stunted Growth: U.S. Supreme Court Declines Review of Challenge to the New Jersey Highlands Act

The Supreme Court of the United States recently declined to review a multi-plaintiff citizen challenge to the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act. The case, Shope v. State, which has been floating through the New Jersey court system since April 2007, finally met its end when the Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari on June 28, 2010.

Here Comes the Sun: New Jersey Exempts Solar Panels from Impervious Coverage Limits

A recently enacted New Jersey law encourages the use of solar energy by allowing solar panels to be excluded from the computation of impervious coverage when determining whether a development project complies with impervious coverage limitations. The new law, P.L.2010, c.4 , amends the Pinelands Protection Act, Coastal Area Facility Review Act, Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, County Planning Act, Waterfront Development Law, and Municipal Land Use Law, as well as laws pertaining to the conversion of age-restricted community developments.