Christine A. Roy is a partner with Rutter & Roy, LLP, a Freehold-based law firm focused on the complex areas of energy, infrastructure and environment, primarily in New Jersey and surrounding states.
We asked Christine what companies need to know about property restrictions in New Jersey.
- Know what you’re looking for. In New Jersey, land preservation comes in all shapes and sizes. We’ve been doing this work for over 30 years, and the due diligence required to definitively identify preserved land in this state cannot be underestimated. For example, when researching Green Acres encumbrances we use a proprietary checklist that goes well beyond the Green Acres Recreation and Open Space Inventory (ROSI) database maintained by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to include title search, records in Trenton and information acquired directly from local units.
- Identify property restrictions as early as possible. Whether you are planning to build a pipeline or a multifamily community, determine as early as possible if your site is on restricted land. If you identify restrictions, you’ll need to know what regulatory processes are triggered and how to respond in order to protect the integrity of your project timeline. The NJDEP may be amenable to streamlining the process, but you’ll need legal professionals with judgment and experience to successfully guide you through the applicable processes.
- Do your homework. Do your due diligence before you contact the NJDEP. It is critical to communicate what you have done to date to explore alternatives and minimize or eliminate the environmental impact of your project. Explain what the public benefits are to the town or municipality and be prepared to discuss appropriate compensation and mitigation. This is not a process you can give short shrift. It is difficult and time consuming, but putting in the effort on the front end can be the difference between meeting your construction start date or not.