With the economic downturn knocking the wind out of the real estate and construction industries, commercial and residential developers faced an uncertain future.
Projects fell off the radar screen and permits for them from local, county and state agencies expired. Developers would have to go through the time-consuming and costly permitting process all over again when the good times returned.
To avoid that, the state legislature passed a law in 2008 extending most of the approved permits. The extensions were renewed repeatedly.
On Dec. 26, the latest one-year extension — co-sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester; Troy Singleton, D-Burlington and Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester — was signed into law.
“This is important for developers who started projects and had them stall,” said Jean Bonilla, a Mount Laurel Realtor and president of New Jersey Realtors.
“Sometimes there is so much red tape that it could be months if they had to reapply. This will allow developers to keep permits for residential and commercial construction, both new and retrofitting. Now they can break ground as soon as weather permits.”
When permit approvals lapse, lenders have to reappraise, and that substantially lowers real estate values established for approved projects, which then leads to the reclassification of loans, Burzichelli said in a release.
“This in turn affects the stability of the banking system and reduces the funds available for future lending, thus creating severe restrictions on credit and leading to a vicious cycle of default,” he explained.
Added Singleton, “This law will ensure that there are sufficient funds available for future lending and that there are fewer restrictions on credit.”
In the end, the purpose of the law is to prevent the wholesale abandonment of approved projects and activities due to unfavorable economic conditions.
“This law will avoid unnecessary costs being imposed on both the public and private sectors,” Moriarty noted.
All this is good news for Realtors at a time of recovery, Bonilla added.
“In the last four weeks, there has been an energy I have not seen for a while. People have more confidence in the economy. It’s recovering nicely.”
Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, D-Camden, will host the 9th annual Three Kings Celebration: Concierto de Parranda Tuesday at Camden’s Walt Whitman Arts Center, 101 Cooper St.
“This growing tradition continues to be a centerpiece of our community’s holiday celebrations,” Fuentes said. “I’m proud to take part in an event that brings families across the city together in spirit and joy.”
The celebration begins at 6:30 p.m.