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Updated Legal Alert: Permit Extension Act of 2020

On July 1, 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law the Permit Extension Act of 2020 (the "Act") which extended the term of certain governmental permits, approvals and deadlines that were set to expire during the COVID-19 extension period (check out our blog for our previous article regarding the Act).The COVID-19 extension period is defined as the period from March 9, 2020 and continuing for as long as the public health emergency declared by Governor Murphy is in effect.Pursuant to the Act, certain government approvals are extended at least six months beyond the conclusion of the extension period. The Act requires State agencies, such as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP"), to publish notice regarding the tolling of approvals in the New Jersey Register.

On September 8, 2020, the NJDEP published its notice in the New Jersey Register under 52 N.J.R. 1682(b) (the "NJDEP Notice").Pursuant to the NJDEP Notice, a holder of a NJDEP permit must register with the NJDEP by October 8, 2020 in order to suspend the running period of a NJDEP approval for the COVID-19 extension period.See, 52 N.J.R. 1682(b).

Not all approvals qualify for the COVID-19 extension, therefore, it is important that a holder of a permit or approval issued by the NJDEP understand the exceptions to the extension. 52 N.J.R. 1682(b) outlines which approvals are extended by the Act and describes which approvals are not extended by the Act.More specifically, the Act extends the following in the event the approval has not expired as of March 9, 2020 and is validly existing:

● Any approval of a soil erosion and sediment control plan granted by a local soil conservation district under the authority conferred by N.J.S.A. 4:24-22 et seq.;

● Waterfront development permit issued pursuant to N.J.S.A. 12:5-1 et seq.;

● Permit issued pursuant to The Wetlands Act of 1970, N.J.S.A. 13:9A-1 et seq.;

● Permit issued pursuant to the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 13:9B-1 et seq.;

● Approval of an application for development granted by the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission pursuant to the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Law of 1974, N.J.S.A. 13:13A-1 et seq.;

● Permit issued pursuant to the Hackensack Meadowlands Reclamation and Development Act, N.J.S.A. 13:17-1 et seq.;

● Approval of an application for development granted by the Pinelands Commission and determination of municipal and county plan conformance pursuant to the Pinelands Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 13:18A-1 et seq. Note: All underlying municipal, county and State permits or approvals within the regional growth areas, villages, and towns, designated in the comprehensive management plan prepared and adopted by the Pinelands Commission pursuant to section 7 of the Pinelands Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 13:18A-8, are extended;

● Permit issued and center designations pursuant to the Coastal Area Facility Review Act, N.J.S.A. 13:19-1 et seq.;

● Septic approval granted pursuant to Title 26 of the Revised Statutes;

● Permit granted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 27:7-1 et seq., or any supplement thereto;

● Right-of-way permit issued by the Department of Transportation pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (h) of N.J.S.A. 27:1A-5;

● Approval granted by a sewerage authority pursuant to the Sewerage Authorities Law, N.J.S.A. 40:14A-1 et seq.;

● Approval granted by a municipal authority pursuant to the Municipal and County Utilities Authorities Law, N.J.S.A. 40:14B-1 et seq.;

● An agreement with a municipality, county, municipal authority, sewerage authority, or other governmental authority for the use or reservation of sewerage capacity;

● Approval issued by a county planning board pursuant to Chapter 27 of Title 40 of the Revised Statutes;

● Preliminary and final approval granted in connection with an application for development pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.;

● Permit granted pursuant to the State Uniform Construction Code Act, N.J.S.A. 52:27D-119 et seq.;

● Plan endorsement and center designations pursuant to the State Planning Act, N.J.S.A. 52:18A-196 et seq.;

● Permit or certification issued pursuant to the Water Supply Management Act, N.J.S.A. 58:1A-1 et seq.;

● Permit granted authorizing the drilling of a well pursuant to N.J.S.A. 58:4A-5 et seq.;

● Certification or permit granted, exemption from a sewerage connection ban granted, wastewater management plan approved, and pollution discharge elimination system permit pursuant to the Water Pollution Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq.;

● Certification granted pursuant to The Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (1954), N.J.S.A. 58:11-23 et seq.;

● Certification or approval granted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 58:11-25.1 et seq.;

● Certification issued and water quality management plan approved pursuant to the Water Quality Planning Act, N.J.S.A. 58:11A-1 et seq.;

● Approval granted pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act, N.J.S.A. 58:12A-1 et seq.;

● Permit issued pursuant to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq.; and

● Any municipal, county, regional, or State approval or permit granted under the general authority conferred by State law, rule, or regulation, or any other government authorization of any development application or any permit related thereto, whether that authorization is in the form of a permit, approval, license, certification, permission, determination, interpretation, exemption, variance, exception, waiver, letter of interpretation, no further action letter, agreement, or any other executive or administrative decision that allows a development or governmental project to proceed.

52 N.J.R. 1682(b)

The Act does not extend the following:

● The time period of any government approval that expired before March 9, 2020;

● Any permit or approval issued by the government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or any permit or approval for which the duration of, or date or terms of its expiration are specified or determined by law or regulation of the Federal government or its agencies or instrumentalities;

● Any permit or approval issued pursuant to the Pinelands Protection Act, N.J.S.A. 13:18A-1 et seq., if the extension would result in a violation of Federal law, or any State rule or regulation requiring approval by the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 71i;

● Any permit or approval issued within the preservation area of the Highlands Region, defined at N.J.S.A. 13:20-3;

● Any permit or approval issued by the Department of Transportation pursuant to Title 27 of the Revised Statutes or under the general authority conferred by State law, other than a right-of-way permit issued pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection (h) of N.J.S.A. 27:1A-5 or a permit granted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 27:7-1 et seq., or any supplement thereto;

● Any permit or approval issued pursuant to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, except (a) where work has commenced, in any phase or section of the development, on any site improvement as defined in paragraph (1) of subsection a. of section 41 of the Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53, or on any buildings or structures; or (b) where the permit or approval authorizes work on real property owned by the government or the Federal government;

● Any coastal center designated pursuant to the Coastal Area Facility Review Act; or

● Any permit or approval within the Highlands planning area located in a municipality subject to the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, that has adopted in accordance with a Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council conformance approval, a Highlands master plan element, a Highlands land use ordinance, or an environmental resource inventory, except that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any permit or approval within a Highlands center designated by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, notwithstanding the adoption by the municipality of a Highlands master plan element, a Highlands land use ordinance, or an environmental resource inventory.

52 N.J.R. 1682(b)

Contact our office at (609) 927-1177 for further guidance on whether your permit or approval is eligible for the COVID-19 extension.We are ready to assist you with registering your approvals as legally required by October 8, 2020 for extension.

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