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Municipalities and Developers May Soon Obtain Relief Under New Jersey's Open Public Meetings Act
Municipalities and Developers May Soon Obtain Relief Under New Jersey's Open Public Meetings Act

In light of recent developments concerning COVID-19, New Jersey municipalities have halted public in-person meetings, including local planning board, zoning board of adjustment, and redevelopment agency hearings. While these drastic measures are necessary to ensure the health and safety of the public, developers are now faced with significant project delays because the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act includes mandatory legal procedures pertaining to public notices and the public’s right to attend public hearings.

In response to this growing concern, on Monday, March 16, the New Jersey Assembly introduced new legislation known as A-3850. The proposed legislation, as currently drafted, supplements the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act and provides a public body with additional legal rights during a state of emergency, public health emergency, or state or local disaster emergency. During an applicable emergency declaration, the bill would authorize a public body to conduct public meetings and public business, cause a meeting to be open to the public, participate in voting, and receive public comment by means of communication or other electronic equipment. The bill would also permit a public body to provide formal notice of meetings electronically through the internet during that time, but requires public bodies who exercise this option to limit, to the extent practicable, the public business conducted to matters necessary for the continuing operation of government and that relate to the applicable emergency declaration.

The bill passed the New Jersey Assembly on Monday and the Senate unanimously passed the legislation today. Connell Foley’s Real Estate and Land Use team will continue to monitor this legislation’s progress. Please check our website for further updates regarding this important legislation.

  • W. Nevins  McCann
    Partner

    Nevins McCann has been at the frontline of New Jersey’s legal and political landscape for many years. From major real estate projects to high-stakes litigation, he advises clients on some of the state’s most significant and ...

  • George L. Garcia
    Partner

    George Garcia focuses his practice on redevelopment law and municipal land use matters in urban and suburban areas throughout New Jersey. With more than 17 years of experience, he regularly prepares development applications ...

  • Benjamin A. Nadell
    Associate

    Benjamin Nadell is an associate in Connell Foley's Real Estate and Land Use and Cannabis Law Groups. Ben focuses on all stages of zoning and land use approvals, including redevelopment projects and site plan, subdivision and ...

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