With the legislative session in Trenton coming to an end tomorrow at noon, New Jersey legislators and the Governor have crafted compromise legislation, S4265/A5912 (which can be found here), to address some of the long-awaited reforms so desperately needed to revamp New Jersey’s antiquated liquor license regulations. While the bill makes some significant changes regarding brewery licenses and addresses inactive retail consumption (i.e., restaurant) licenses, it does not fully satisfy Murphy’s call to reform and expand the liquor license scheme overall. The legislation appears to be on track for passage by both houses of the Legislature today, and Governor Murphy is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as it hits his desk.Continue Reading A Deep Dive Examination of the Restaurant Liquor License Aspects of the Fast-Moving Bill Speeding Through the New Jersey Legislature

With just two days remaining in the two-year legislative session in Trenton, New Jersey lawmakers and the Governor’s Office are reportedly drafting compromise legislation for speedy passage tomorrow and Monday, which Governor Murphy is expected to sign into law in a matter of days. While the contents of the draft bill fall far short of the Murphy Administration’s proposed sweeping overhaul of the state’s alcoholic beverage laws, the revisions appear to be significant. NJ Advance Media has previewed the legislation and is reporting that it would:Continue Reading NJ Legislature Poised to Revise Restaurant/Brewery Liquor Licensing Laws with Two Days Left in Session

Governor Murphy today conditionally vetoed legislation that would have added yet another burden on commercial property owners.  The bill, A-4750, would have required the owner of every commercial property in the state—presumably affecting retail, office and industrial space despite the bill’s reference to the creation of a “storefront” registry— to notify the state’s Business Action Center (“BAC”) whenever a commercial space “becomes available” and “no person or entity is presently scheduled to lease or purchase the property.”  The property owner would have also been required to notify the BAC again when such space became re-occupied. Instead of an outright rejection of the bill, however, Governor Murphy suggested that the Legislature first allow for the BAC to study the issue that the legislation aimed to solve. In conditionally vetoing the legislation, Governor Murphy echoed the sentiments of my colleagues in this earlier blog post.Continue Reading Gov. Murphy Rejects Legislation Requiring Commercial Property Owners to Register “Vacant Space”

A bill on Governor Murphy’s desk for possible enactment into law would add yet another burden on commercial property owners. This time it’s an effort to create a public database of all vacant commercial space available in the state for lease or purchase. Legislators have touted this initiative (Senate Bill 3286/Assembly Bill 4750) as a tool to help New Jersey’s small businesses in “locating storefronts,” but what does it mean for commercial property owners?Continue Reading Vacant Storefront Registry Program – Would It Really Help?

Op-ed as seen on: ROI-NJ.com
By: George Jacobs and Ted Zangari

High on the list of antiquated regulations that are stifling competitiveness in New Jersey are those governing restaurant liquor licensing. So, kudos to Gov. Phil Murphy for being the first governor in modern state history to openly call for the overhaul of a system that for decades has prevented many restaurants from offering their customers the convenience of an adult beverage. The Murphy administration’s plan is to make restaurant liquor licenses less expensive and more readily available. Both are laudable goals, but the governor’s initiative has encountered resistance from an array of special interests, and legislators are now focusing more narrowly on the issue.Continue Reading Liquor License Issue Is 2-Part Problem: Here’s 2-Part Solution

Governor Murphy this week signed the Elections Transparency Act, expanding reporting requirements for recipients of political contributions – thus the name of the new law.  But the Act does more than expand reporting requirements. It weakens pay-to-play restrictions and increases the amounts that individuals and corporations may contribute to candidates and political parties.  The changes to the law contain both good news and bad news for public contractors and other corporate campaign contributors (and their counsel).Continue Reading Governor Signs Elections Transparency Act

Gov. Murphy held a roundtable discussion today with restaurant owners and other stakeholders to discuss details of his administration’s legislative proposal to increase the availability of Plenary Retail Consumption Licenses gradually over five years.Continue Reading Murphy Administration Releases Additional Details of Proposal to Modernize NJ Liquor Licensing Laws

Bill Would Now Give County Planning Boards, State Planning Commission say in “Large Warehouse” Applications before NJ Land Use Boards

A bill pending in the New Jersey State Legislature would send developers to county planning boards or the State Planning Commission for an added layer of approvals when adjacent towns object to warehouse development projects outside of their jurisdiction. The revised version of the bill, sponsored by State Senate President Steve Sweeney and co-sponsored by State Senator Troy Singleton, still gives neighboring towns a say in whether warehouse development is approved across their borders. [CLICK HERE TO READ OUR PREVIOUS POST ON THE ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED BILL.] However, instead of creating “Inter-Municipal Land Use Boards” to consider the regional impact of the proposed warehouse development when neighboring towns object, as the original version of the bill prescribed, the revised bill would require the county planning board to hold a hearing on the regional impacts of any proposed warehouse project opposed by neighboring towns. The revised version of the bill goes further and provides that when a warehouse project is proposed in a town that borders another county, the State Planning Commission would hold the hearing (instead of the county planning board) to consider the regional impacts of the proposed warehouse development. The revised legislation also removes language defining what constitutes a “retail warehouse” that would trigger the requirement for the added layer of approvals when neighboring towns object. Instead, the revised bill leaves it up to the State Planning Commission to define what constitutes a “Large Warehouse.”Continue Reading Legislation Creating “Inter-Municipal” Land Use Boards Revised, Approved in Senate Committee

A bill just introduced in the New Jersey State Legislature could significantly slow the development of warehouse space even as demand soars nationwide. The bill, sponsored by State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, would amend the Municipal Land Use Law (N.J.S.A. 40:55D-1, et seq.) to require a town where a new warehouse development is pending to invite neighboring towns into the land use approval process — thereby extending what is already an onerous, time-consuming, and costly process by requiring an additional layer of approvals. Under the proposed legislation, a host municipality would be required to provide notice to each adjoining municipality whenever an application for a “retail warehouse” is filed and deemed complete and at least 30 days prior to the scheduled public hearing on the application. The bill defines “retail warehouse” as a facility designed for the storage of goods and materials with restricted access to the general public and does not include facilities that repackage or assemble products.
Continue Reading “Inter-Municipal” Land Use Boards? Proposed Legislation Would Include Neighboring Towns in Review of Warehouse Development Applications

Sills Cummis & Gross is pleased to announce that Ted Zangari, Chair of the Firm’s Real Estate Department, has been appointed to another term as Mixed-Use (MXD) Counsel to the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA).  He has served in this capacity for eight years and was among the founders of the MXD division of NJBA nearly a decade ago.Continue Reading Ted Zangari Reappointed MXD Counsel to New Jersey Builders Association