The General Assembly on Thursday approved bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jerry Green, John Burzichelli, Troy Singleton, Gordon Johnson, Patrick Diegnan and Paul Moriarty to extend expiration dates for certain state and local permits. The measure passed 67-0-8.
The bill (A-3815) would extend for one year the expiration dates of certain permits pursuant to the “Permit Extension Act of 2008.” The law originally suspended the running of certain government approvals until July 1, 2010. A 2012 law extended the end date to Dec. 31, 2014. This bill would further extend the date to Dec. 31, 2015.
“As a result of the recent recession, once-approved permits are in danger of expiring or lapsing because gaining permit extensions is difficult and costly, and developers do not have the resources to obtain extensions,” said Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “By extending permits with this bill, we can prevent a waste of public and private resources.”
“When permit approvals lapse, lenders have to re-appraise, and that substantially lowers real estate valuations established in conjunction with approved projects, which then leads to the reclassification of numerous loans,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “This permit extension is necessary to avoid a vicious cycle of default.”
“This bill will ensure that there are sufficient funds available for future lending and that there are fewer restrictions on credit,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “The wellness of state, regional, county and municipal agencies is dependent upon this measure.”
“The economic downturn had a negative effect on the state’s banking, real estate and construction sectors, and the extreme tightening of lending standards for home buyers and other real estate borrowers has reduced access to the capital markets,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “The process of obtaining planning board and zoning board of adjustment approvals for subdivisions, site plans and variances can be difficult, time consuming and expensive, both for private applicants and government bodies. This extension is intended to make things easier as we continue to recover.”
“This legislation does nothing more than extend permits that were properly vetted and obtained. Unfortunately, many landowners and developers are seeing their life’s work destroyed by the lack of credit and dearth of buyers and tenants due to the crisis in real estate financing and the building industry, uncertainty over the state of the economy and increasing levels of unemployment in the construction industry,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “This measure will give needed protection to those who have followed the rules and want to invest in our state.”
“As a result of the continued downturn of the economy, and the continued expiration of approvals which were granted by state and local governments, it is possible that thousands of government actions will be undone by the passage of time,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Obtaining an extension of an approval pursuant to existing statutory or regulatory provisions can be both costly in terms of time and financial resources, and insufficient to cope with the extent of the present financial situation. This legislation will avoid unnecessary costs being imposed on both the public and private sectors.”
The bill awaits further Senate consideration.