From the State House, to local governments, to courthouses across New Jersey, recent regulatory, legislative and legal issues are impacting commercial real estate.
Those issues provided the topics of discussion for a NAIOP New Jersey seminar at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.
“Real estate professionals must keep current with government actions that affect their businesses,” noted Michael McGuinness, CEO of NAIOP New Jersey.
The keynote was provided by Phoebe Sorial, Esq., of the bi-state Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.
Noting that the commission’s primary responsibilities include overseeing hiring practices and fighting criminal activity within the port, “there has been a continental shift regarding questions of jurisdiction,” she said.
Other issues of concern to commercial real estate interests in the port include two-percent assessments on businesses, audits of those businesses, and licensing requirements.
The Commission’s jurisdiction has historically encompassed any port-related business within 1,000 yards of the pier, and in response to NAIOP New Jersey-supported legislation to clarify that jurisdiction, that issue has been resolved according to Sorial.
“We are currently working on a map to delineate our jurisdiction – and it’s going well,” she said. She noted that the Commission has refined its regulations to require just “a one-page self-certification form for affected warehouse and distribution facilities.”
In a related matter, NAIOP is advocating for a legislative or regulatory solution to rein in local warehouse and distribution permit and inspection fees, said McGuinness.
The problem has been the widely disparate with excessive fees from town to town.
Anthony Pizzutillo of Smith Pizzutillo addressed the problem of funding the Transportation Trust Fund for infrastructure repairs, noting that the problem still exists because “the legislature is focused on other things.” He said the ongoing success of NAIOP-backed incentive programs, such as Grow New Jersey, “is making things happen to encourage growth and development.”
Still other issues “on the table,” according to Pizzutillo, include reforming New Jersey’s antiquated liquor license laws to encourage redevelopment, equitable funding for preliminary site investigations from the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund, and extending the successful Licensed Site Remediation Program (LSRP) model to land use programs.