May 08, 2020
"The land use and zoning approval process that
governments have developers (and their attorneys) undergo to manage the
development of new projects within their jurisdictions is moving all-online
during the efforts to further curb the spread of COVID-19.," as seen in
this ROI-NJ article.
Meryl Gonchar, Co-Chair of the Sills Cummis & Gross Land
Use Practice Group, was interviewed.
According to Gonchar, “My feeling is those applications
should definitely go ahead. Otherwise, the backlog when we go back to being
processed in the ordinary course will be mind-boggling due to the sheer volume
of what built up during this cessation period.”
The article continues, "There’s no chance of the
state’s real estate sector and the larger economy recovering unscathed from
land use applications filed in February not being decided on until late this
year, Gonchar added.
"In the end, Gonchar thinks having these meetings
brought to people’s own living rooms could end up being a boon for the members
of communities who want their voice heard.
"She said it has been taken for granted that these
meetings were in-person, evening-hour affairs, which she understands might not
have been the best scenario for working families with children and other
responsibilities — or for those with physical disabilities.
"'As I’ve heard it said of the pandemic, there have
been some problems not created by it, but the circumstances resulted in shining
a light on problems that already long existed,' Gonchar said."