September 6, 2022

The NJDEP to Adopt Portions of the Protecting Against Climate Threats (PACT) Rules via its Emergency Rulemaking Powers

For many in the field of real estate development, including developers, builders, engineers, planners and land use attorneys, on May 25th, a bell was tolled.

The New Jersey Administrative Procedures Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.) permits an agency such as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (the “NJDEP”) to make emergency amendments to the New Jersey administrative code upon a finding of imminent peril to public health, safety, and welfare. N.J.S.A. 52:14B-4(c).  On May 25th, the NJDEP announced that it would be adopting portions of the Protecting Against Climate Threats (PACT) Rules pursuant to these emergency rulemaking powers, meaning that these emergency PACT rules would take effect the day they are filed with the Office of Administrative Law and would be valid for sixty (60) days from that date.  In addition, the NJDEP has announced its intention to file not only the emergency PACT rules, but also a concurrent proposal which would enable the rules to remain in effect for a period longer than 60 days.  Once the emergency rules (along with the concurrent proposal) are published in the New Jersey Register, a thirty (30)-day comment period will begin, to run concurrently with the 60-day validity period.

Why is this important?  In the simplest terms, the emergency PACT rules will have a significant and sustained impact on development in New Jersey, as the emergency PACT rules to be adopted include, among other things, changes to the Fluvial Flood Hazard Area (FHA) rules and the Stormwater Rules.  The term “fluvial” generally means “of or relating to a river or stream”, and as such, the changes to the Fluvial FHA rules will be limited to projects located in fluvial areas.  In other words, they will not be applicable to tidal areas.

Under the current Fluvial FHA rules, the Design Flood Elevation (the “DFE”) is the higher of: (1) Flood elevation mapped by the NJDEP (where applicable); or (2) the FEMA 100-year flood elevation, plus one foot.  However, under the proposed emergency Fluvial FHA Rules, the fluvial DFE will be raised by two feet.  As such, applicants utilizing their own flood projections will be required to use rainfall data for the year 2100 in order to calculate an alternative DFE.  If an applicant’s project is not currently located in a floodplain, it must determine whether its application for development will be impacted, and to what degree, by the additional two feet of flood elevation.

As another example, and with respect to stormwater, the emergency rules will require that stormwater designs manage runoff for both today’s storms and future storms, again utilizing county-based rainfall projections for the year 2100, which projections are up to 50% higher than current totals.  The emergency rules will also remove the use of Rational and Modified Rational methods for stormwater calculations.  Furthermore, municipalities will have only one year to update their municipal stormwater ordinances to account for the new rules.

Thankfully, there are certain exceptions to the applicability of the emergency rules.  With respect to the Fluvial FHA rules, applicants will not have to comply with the new standard if:

  1. The regulated activity is part of a project that already has a valid FHA permit. See J.A.C. 7:13-2.1(c)1; or
  2. The regulated activity is part of a project that requires an FHA permit and a complete application for the project was submitted to NJDEP prior to the emergency rulemaking; or
  3. The regulated activity is part of a project that does not require an FHA permit prior to the emergency rulemaking, and:
    • The project has received all necessary Federal, State and local approvals prior to emergency rulemaking; and
    • Construction has commenced, also prior to the emergency rulemaking. See J.A.C. 7:13-2.1(c)4.

Note, however, that obtaining a flood hazard area verification or applicability determination, as opposed to a permit, prior to the emergency rulemaking does not automatically exempt a new project from the new standards.

Regarding stormwater, developers will not have to comply with the emergency rules if:

  1. The project needs FHA, Coastal Zone Management, Freshwater Wetlands, or Highlands approval and a complete application for such was submitted to NJDEP prior to the emergency rulemaking. See J.A.C. 7:8-1.6(b)2; or
  2. The project does not require any NJDEP approval and has already received certain local approvals pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”) (J.S.A. 40:55D-1 et seq.) prior to the emergency rulemaking. See N.J.A.C. 7:8- 1.6(b)1.

As mentioned, municipalities will only have one year to amend their stormwater ordinances to account for the new rules.  However, the emergency stormwater rules will be effective immediately under the Residential Site Improvement Standards (“RSIS”), unless covered by N.J.A.C. 7:8-1.6(b)1, which supersede any municipal ordinance to the contrary and apply strictly to residential development (as opposed to non-residential development).

The NJDEP has already delayed filing the emergency portion of the PACT rules with the Office of Administrative Law at least once, and it is rumored it might happen again due to public outcry from entities such as the New Jersey Builders Association.  Others hear that the emergency rules will be filed sometime after Labor Day of this year.  In any event, those in the business of developing real property, including developers, builders, engineers, planners, and land use attorneys, must be aware of these emergency rules in order to anticipate how they will affect development projects moving forward and be able to swiftly adapt to avoid project delays.


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and none of these materials are offered, nor should they be construed, as legal advice or a legal opinion based on any specific facts or circumstances.

May 12, 2022

Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP Attorney, Opeyemi (Yemi) Akinde Appointed New Lawyer Trustee for the Gloucester County Bar Association

Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP attorney, Opeyemi (Yemi) Akinde has been appointed a New Lawyer Trustee for the Gloucester County Bar Association and will serve on its Board for the 2022-2023 term.

For over 100 years, the Gloucester County Bar Association has served the community at large by improving access to the legal system, facilitating professionalism in the legal community, and promoting justice for everyone. Yemi has been a member of the Gloucester County Bar Association for the two years, since the start of her clerkship with Gloucester County Assignment Judge Benjamin C. Telsey.  She is also a member of the New Jersey Bar Association and the Burlington County Bar Association.

Yemi is an associate in the Litigation and Employment Practice Groups at Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP, and devotes her practice to assisting businesses navigate – or avoid – the many stages of commercial litigation. Yemi is a graduate of Rutgers Law School (J.D., 2020), receiving the Myron Harkavy Graduation Prize for Most Promise as a Trial Lawyer. While in law school, Yemi served as President of the Labor & Employment Law Society, Secretary of the Moot Court Board, and successfully competed on the Rutgers National Trial Team, winning awards from the American Bar Association and other renowned legal organizations.

Yemi can be reached at akinde@hylandlevin.com or (856) 355-2999.

April 4, 2022

Beau C. Wilson, Esquire Joins Hyland Levin Shapiro

Beau C. Wilson, Esquire has joined Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP as an associate and will continue his concentration in commercial litigation.

Prior to joining Hyland Levin Shapiro, Beau served as Deputy Attorney General at the Office of the Attorney General in Trenton, New Jersey where he represented state agencies in the Office of Administrative Law, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, the New Jersey Supreme Court, the New Jersey District Court, and the United States Supreme Court.  He also counseled the Department of Community Affairs and its various subdivisions and the Department of State regarding the enforcement or defense of their statutes and regulations.

“We are delighted to have Beau join our active and growing commercial litigation department. He brings a wealth of experience from his work with the State, and we look forward to his contributions to our clients’ successes”, said Managing Partner, Benjamin Levin.

Beau is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law (J.D. 2017), and Messiah College (B.A. 2011).  At Temple, he was the recipient of the Harriet Robinson Gillock Memorial Award and was a Rubin Public Interest Law Honor Society Fellow and member of the Moot Court Honor Society.  After law school, Beau clerked for Superior Court Judge Jean B. McMaster, J.S.C., Civil Division and later interned at the Face to Face Legal Center of Philadelphia as well as the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.  He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

He resides in Haddon Township with his wife and son.  In his free time, Beau enjoys playing tennis, going on hikes, and attempting to convince his family that his dad jokes are, in fact, funny.

Beau may be reached at wilson@hylandlevin.com or 856.355.2931.

November 24, 2021

Partner, David R. Dahan Appointed President Elect for Keystone Chapter of CAI

pic_david_dahan_newWe are pleased to share some very exciting news about our partner, David R. Dahan.  David has been a Member of the Board of Directors for the Keystone Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (“CAI”) for about 5 years.  CAI is an international trade organization for community associations.  CAI promotes certain legislation which favors associations, opposes legislation which is contrary to the interests of associations and provides various education and networking events for the industry.  David was recently notified that he has been appointed as President Elect for 2022 and will serve as President of the Chapter for 2023.  This is in addition to his continued role as a Member of the Chapter’s Finance Committee and Executive Committee.  David will also serve as a Member of the Board Development Committee and the 2022 liaison for the Member Engagement and Golf committees.

Hyland Levin Shapiro Attorneys Participate in CAI’s New Jersey Mini Trade Show and Education Forum

On November 10, 2021, David Dahan and Will Hanna attended the Community Associations Institute’s New Jersey Mini Trade Show and Education Forum.  The firm had a display booth and was also a sponsor for this annual event.  The event was well attended and included a fascinating education forum on car charging stations for community associations.

September 13, 2021

Opeyemi D. Akinde Joins Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP

Hyland Levin Shapiro is excited to announce that Opeyemi (Yemi) D. Akinde has joined Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP as an Associate. Ms. Akinde enters as a member of the Litigation and Employment practice groups.

Prior to joining Hyland Levin Shapiro, Yemi served as a law clerk to the Honorable Benjamin C. Telsey, A.J.S.C. in the Superior Court of New Jersey. She also completed judicial internships with the Honorable Esther Salas, U.S.D.J. for the District Court of New Jersey and at the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Administrative Law Judges.

“We are thrilled to have Yemi join Hyland Levin Shapiro,” says Megan Knowlton Balne, Partner and Head of the Employment Practice Group at the firm. “As a new attorney, Yemi has a great skillset to bring to the practice and we are excited to welcome her to our team.”

Yemi is a graduate of Rutgers Law School (J.D., 2020), receiving the Myron Harkavy Graduation Prize for Most Promise as a Trial Lawyer. While in law school, Yemi served as President of the Labor & Employment Law Society, Secretary of the Moot Court Board, and successfully competed on the National Mock Trial Team, winning awards from the American Bar Association and other renowned legal organizations.

In her spare time, Yemi enjoys cooking, reading, exercising, and traveling.

July 14, 2021

Peter A. Chacanias’ Article on Riparian Claims published by Wolf Commercial Real Estate’s InfoFriday

The article titled “Beware of the Riparian Claim on NJ Waterfront Properties” was published in WCRE’s InfoFriday|July 2nd 2021.  Peter is a vital part of our Real Estate group with focus on zoning and land use and environmental matters, especially waterfront development issues.  Contact Peter directly at 856.355.2992 or by email at chacanias@hylandlevin.com.

June 21, 2021

Partner, David R. Dahan Attended and Presented at the 2021 Conference and Expo for the CAI’s Keystone Chapter

On June 17, Partner, David R. Dahan, attended the 2021 Conference and Expo for the Community Associations Institute’s Keystone Chapter.  David was also the presenter at an education seminar at the event on the topic:  Recently Adopted Rules of FHA Certification May Help Your Condo Association.  This was the first Conference and Expo since COIVD-19 restrictions were relaxed and it was a well-attended event!

April 7, 2021

Hyland Levin Shapiro Partner Peter J. Boyer Reappointed to serve as a Member of the Disciplinary Review Board by the Supreme Court of New Jersey

pic_peter_boyer_newHyland Levin Shapiro LLP partner, Peter J. Boyer has been reappointed to serve a new three-year term as a member of the Disciplinary Review Board of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  The Disciplinary Review Board serves as the intermediate appellate level of the attorney disciplinary system in New Jersey, subject to final review by the Supreme Court.  Peter previously served as a member, Vice Chair and Chair of the District IV Ethics Committee.

Peter is a member of the Business Litigation and Appellate Litigation Groups at Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP, and concentrates his practice on business and commercial litigation.

He is active in a number of civic and professional organizations including the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association and the ABA Litigation Section’s Business Torts Subcommittee. He was also appointed as an Editor of the ABA Business Torts Journal and a member of the Business Torts Subcommittee’s Leadership Team.  Peter has written and lectured on topics relating to his business litigation practice and to attorney ethics and professional responsibility.

Peter is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and is also a member of the bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.  A long-time supporter of the arts, he has served as a member of the Board of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and as a member and President of the Board of Singing City.

Peter is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was an editor of the American Criminal Law Review.

Peter can be reached at boyer@hylandlevin.com or 856.355.2912.

March 23, 2021

Peter A. Chacanias, Esquire Joins Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP

Peter A. Chacanias has joined Hyland Levin Shapiro LLP as an associate continuing his concentration on land use and environmental matters.  Peter has experience representing commercial real estate developers and property owners on all aspects of the land development process and has appeared before planning boards, zoning boards of adjustment and other municipal governing bodies in connection with site plan approvals, subdivisions, variances, rezoning applications, environmental permits, and access permits. Peter has specific experience with waterfront development and tidelands matters.  He has served as Board Solicitor for municipal bodies throughout New Jersey, including the Point Pleasant Beach Planning Board and the Zoning Boards of Adjustment for the municipalities of Little Egg Harbor, Toms River, and Summit.

Prior to joining Hyland Levin Shapiro, Peter practiced in the land use, environmental, redevelopment, tidelands, and related litigation group at two prestigious law firms in Monmouth and Middlesex counties, respectively.

“Peter’s prior experience has been on both sides of the development table, enabling him to cogently understand and respect the government’s perspective in processing each application” said partner William F. Hyland, Jr.  Land use partner Bob Baranowski added that “welcoming Peter to our active and growing land use and zoning practice with his expertise in handling tidelands and waterfront development applications will further expand our proficiency in these areas and will be particularly valuable to our clients with development projects in coastal and riparian zones.”

Peter is a graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D. 2014) (Presidential Scholarship and Riccio Scholarship recipient), and Seton Hall University (B.A. magna cum laude, 2011).  During his time at Seton Hall University, Peter received the Presidential Scholarship Award and was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Peter is a member of the Monmouth Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Peter resides in Matawan Township with his fiancé. In his spare time, Peter enjoys reading and is an avid outdoorsman and athlete. When he’s not working, you can usually find him hiking along some wooded trail or training for his next long distance run, and he hopes to rekindle his love of acting – a hobby he picked up in college and managed to continue throughout law school.

Peter may be reached at chacanias@hylandlevin.com or 856.355.2992.