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Redevelopment Law Amended
The Legislature has enacted P.L. 2013, c.159, which amends the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law [“LR&HL”], N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-1 et seq., in order to incorporate the holding in Gallenthin v. Paulsboro, 191 N.J. 344 (2007), and to address the due process concerns raised in Harrison Redev’t Agency v. DeRose, 398 N.J. Super. 361 (App. Div. 2008). In Gallenthin the New Jersey Supreme Court clarified the statutory criteria that must be met in order for an area to be determined to be in need of redevelopment. It emphasized that the use of eminent domain cannot be justified to acquire property solely upon the basis that it is underutilized, unless the property otherwise meets the criteria for blight. The new act amends the LR&HL to reflect the foregoing.               

            In Harrision Redev’t, the Appellate Division questioned the adequacy of notice given to property owners that a redevelopment area determination authorizes the taking of property by condemnation. The enactment accordingly amends the LR&HL to require municipalities to provide property owners within a proposed redevelopment area with timely, specific notice of such designation, which notice must also indicate the municipality’s intention to use (or not to use) eminent domain to facilitate the redevelopment plan.

            The act also authorizes municipalities to implement redevelopment initiatives without using eminent domain. Finally, it gives municipal governing bodies greater flexibility in determining if a delineated area is in of need of rehabilitation. The law was approved on Sept. 6, 2013, and its provisions (except those affecting N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-6) take effect immediately.

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