Pipeline Projects and New Jersey’s Green Acres Restricted Land
One of the greatest challenges to successfully planning pipeline projects in New Jersey’s open spaces is identifying whether or not a property falls under Green Acres restrictions. The master list for these properties, called the Recreation and Open Space Inventory (ROSI), is often incomplete.
What are the greatest challenges in planning a pipeline project?One of the biggest challenges to successfully planning pipeline projects in New Jersey’s open spaces is identifying whether or not a property is Green Acres-restricted. The master list for these properties, called the Recreation and Open Space Inventory (ROSI), is often incomplete due to a municipality not reporting properly, non-profit ownership (where no reporting is required), and other reasons.
Rutter & Roy meets this challenge using years of experience, in-depth research, outreach to the local unit (county, township, etc.), and working with the Green Acres Program staff when necessary.
What if a property is identified as Green Acres restricted?If a property is identified as Green Acres restricted, a diversion is required when permanent rights are being acquired and, possibly, when there are significant long-term impacts from the temporary use of the parcel. There are several steps involved in the diversion process, including the filing of a pre-application and final application, and the holding of two public hearings.
The intentionally lengthy and onerous process was designed in part to deter companies from utilizing land for non-preservation purposes. It is therefore imperative that property restrictions and associated regulatory processes are identified and set in motion early on in order to avoid significant project delays.
How many hearings are typical?Typically, two public hearings are required. The first one is called a scoping hearing and is intended to solicit public comment about the rights needed for the project and the impacts to the diverted parcel. The second hearing is to solicit public comment regarding the proposed compensation package. Once the final application is submitted to the NJDEP and is approved by the NJDEP Commissioner, the application will then go before the State House Commission for approval. If the Green Acres restriction is on private property, a public hearing in connection with the release of the restriction would be required pursuant to a different statute.