40:55D-131. Findings, declarations
2. The Legislature finds and determines that:
a. There exists a state of economic emergency in the State of New Jersey, which began on January 1, 1989, and is anticipated to extend at least through December 31, 1996, which has drastically affected various segments of the New Jersey economy, but none as severely as the State's banking, real estate and construction sectors.
b. The process of obtaining planning and zoning board of adjustment approvals for subdivisions, site plans and variances is difficult, time consuming and expensive, both for private applicants and government bodies.
c. The process of obtaining the myriad other government approvals, such as wetlands permits, sewer extension permits, on-site wastewater disposal permits, stream encroachment permits, highway access permits, and numerous waivers and variances, is also difficult and expensive; further, changes in the law can render these approvals, if expired or lapsed, impossible to renew or to re-obtain.
d. The current economic crisis has wreaked devastation on the building industry, and many landowners and developers are seeing their life's work destroyed by the lack of credit and dearth of buyers and tenants, due to uncertainty over the state of the economy and high levels of unemployment.
e. The construction industry and related trades are sustaining severe economic losses, and the lapsing of government development approvals is exacerbating those losses.
f. Due to the current inability of builders to obtain construction financing, under existing economic conditions, more and more once-approved permits are expiring or lapsing and, as these approvals lapse, lenders must re-appraise and thereafter substantially lower real estate valuations established in conjunction with approved projects, thereby requiring the reclassification of numerous loans which, in turn, affects the stability of the banking system and reduces the funds available for future lending, thus creating more severe restrictions on credit and leading to a vicious cycle of default.
g. 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.
h. Obtaining an extension of an approval pursuant to existing statutory or regulatory provisions is both costly in terms of time and financial resources, and insufficient to cope with the extent of the present financial emergency; moreover, the costs imposed fall on the public as well as the private sector.
i. Obtaining extensions of approvals granted by State government is frequently impossible, always difficult, and always expensive and no policy reason is served by the expiration of these permits, which were usually approved only after exhaustive review of the application.
j. It is the purpose of this act to prevent the wholesale abandonment of approvals due to the present unfavorable economic conditions, by tolling the expiration of these approvals until such time as the economy improves, thereby preventing a waste of public and private resources.
L.1992,c.82,s.2; amended 1994,c.145,s.1.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016