Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Will NJDEP's new water quality plan wipe out your development?

reports that "the value and development potential of some real estate properties in New Jersey could take a hit as county and municipal governments prepare new wastewater management plans and redraw sewer service area boundaries.

"And despite the potentially devastating impact of such changes, many property owners are unaware they may be affected."

The business publication's Evelyn Lee explains:

"Last year, the state Department of Environmental Protection amended its Water Quality Management Planning rule, making county and municipal governments responsible for updating their wastewater management plans.

"The amended rule removes environmentally sensitive features — such as wetlands and endangered species — from sewer service areas, which encompass properties served by wastewater treatment systems. In amending the rule, the department came up with a draft map of sewer service areas to reflect the rule change, and guide counties and municipalities in developing their own sewer service area maps.

"The new maps could reassign properties currently within a sewer service area to a non-service area, said Ellen Radow Sadat, a partner at the Princeton office of law firm Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP.

This could significantly reduce the value of the site by eliminating future development, she said, as “without sewer service, it’s very difficult for development to occur.”

Radow Sadat is calling for projects already underway to be grandfathered into the state’s new sewer service areas: “People have invested their money in the land, with the prospect of potentially growing and expanding in New Jersey.”

See the entire NJBIZ story here.

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