Restart and Recovery Advisory Council
On Friday, May 8, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 140 which established a Restart and Recovery Advisory council tasked with providing guidance to the Governor on the reopening and recovery of New Jersey’s economy. NJBA CEO Carol Ann Short, Esq., and builder members David Barry of Ironstate Development, Carl Goldberg of Canoe Brook Management LLC, and Elizabeth Tice, Esq. of K. Hovnanian Homes were subsequently named to the council, ensuring the interests of the home building community in NJ will be well represented as NJ formulates a plan to recover.
Permit Extension Act
NJBA President Michael Canuso, only three days into his presidency, testified during the first day of the new virtual legislative committee hearings on Thursday, May 7, in support of a Permit Extension Act, A3919 (Calabrese) & S2346(Sarlo). The bill would create a new extension period under the Permit Extension Act of 2008 that covers permits in existence during the period in which the COVID-19 public health emergency or state of emergency is in effect. Mike stressed the need to preserve projects that have stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ability for these projects to create jobs and get NJ residents back to work quickly. A3919 was unanimously released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee and the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The bills are on second reading in both houses, but they are not identical at this time. NJBA will continue to advocate for this legislation as a piece of the puzzle to building a robust and healthy housing market that will enable NJ to realize a full economic recovery.
Governor Murphy Signs New Executive Orders
Executive Order 130 – Allows municipalities to extend grace period for May 1st property tax payments until June 1st.
Executive Order 131 – Creates a commission, consisting of 16 appointed members of the public, charged with advising the administration on the timing and preparation for New Jersey’s recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown.
Executive Order 136 – Extends statutory deadlines for various environmental laws and pauses or delays timeframes governing DEP’s provision of public notice, review and decisions on permits and other approvals for the duration of the public health emergency, including those which would deem applications approved without conditions deemed necessary by DEP to ensure protection of public health, safety and the environment. Essentially, EO 136 suspends the 90 day construction law, enabling DEP to exceed the 90 day timeframe on a case by case basis. Importantly, the EO delays the registration deadline for Soil and Fill Recycling Services under the A901 program.
Executive Order 138 – Extends the public-health emergency declared in NJ for the coronavirus pandemic by 30 days. Governor Murphy declared both a state of emergency and a public-health emergency on March 9 as the pandemic was beginning to spread in New Jersey. He extended that order about a month later on April 7. This week he signed EO138 to keep it in place through at least June 5. The state of emergency remains in place indefinitely, but the public-health emergency expires after 30 days.
DEP Commissioner McCabe Issues Administrative Order 2020-06
On Thursday, May 8, Commissioner McCabe Signed AO 2020-06 which sets forth which DEP permitting public comment periods will be extended under the authority of EO 136. Most public comment periods have been extended by 30 days to 60 days, with some exceptions. Taken together, EO 136 and AO 2020-06 essentially provide DEP and the public with additional time to review and comment on pending permits.
Schools to Continue Remote Learning
Governor Murphy has announced that all schools will continue online learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Murphy first announced all schools to be closed on March 18 and said repeatedly that remote education would continue until at least May 15. This week he decided not to rescind EO107, which states that all schools shall remain closed to students as long as this order remains in effect.