The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), in its function as the repository for registering approval extensions under the Permit Extension Act of 2020 (“PEA2020”), codified at N.J.S.A. 40:55D-136.7, has posted the list of approvals which were registered by the October 8, 2020 deadline. There are actually two separate lists available from NJDEP, one consisting of permits issued by the NJDEP, and the other consisting of approvals issued by all other agencies. The second list encompasses a broad array of approvals including municipal and county planning board approvals, health department approvals, highway access permits, road opening permits, redevelopment agreements, soil conservation district certification, and a host of others. Both lists provide the name of the permittee, permitting agency, type of permit, and permit number. They are searchable by keyword. It appears that these lists are only inclusive of the approvals that have been granted extensions, and developers and permitted parties should review them carefully to confirm whether their approvals have been included.
As reported previously, PEA2020 authorizes the extension of a wide variety of approvals, including, but not limited to, soil conservation district approvals, waterfront development permits, wetlands permits, CAFRA permits and center designations, septic approvals, municipal utility authority approvals, county and municipal planning board approvals, and a host of other municipal, county, regional, or State approvals or permits granted under State law, rule, or regulation. The extension applies to all eligible approvals that were in effect as of March 9, 2020 – the date on which the Governor first declared a public health emergency per Executive Order No. 103 – and the extension period will run from March 9, 2020 to the date on which the Governor terminates the declaration of a public health emergency.
In a change from prior iterations of the Permit Extension Act, PEA2020 required that approvals for which extensions are sought be registered with the NJDEP following publication of notice in the New Jersey Register. The deadline to complete registration was October 8, 2020. PEA2020 provides that “the running period of any approval not registered pursuant to this section shall not be suspended for the COVID-19 extension period.”
Going forward, it will be important to keep track of when the public health emergency ends because that will also end the COVID-19 extension period. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, N.J.S.A. 26:13-1 et seq., the Governor must renew the declaration on a monthly basis, so paying close attention to the Governor’s issuance of executive orders will be necessary for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned to this blog for future updates regarding the extension period.