New Jersey State Land Right-of-Way (3-NJ-b)
State Land Right-of-Way Process
3-NJ-b.1 to 3-NJ-b.2 – Does the Project Cross Municipal Land?
If the proposed project crosses municipal land, the developer should contact the appropriate municipal authority to obtain municipal agency approval pursuant to N.J. Stat. Ann. § 40:37A-77 ; N.J. Stat. Ann. § 40:37B-34.
3-NJ-b.3 – Contact New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division or Office with Jurisdiction
Generally, if the project crosses state late, the developer should contact the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) office with jurisdiction over the proposed project site. The NJDEP Commissioner has the authority to sell, lease or exchange any areas of land, water or land and water, belonging to the State acquired for public hunting, fishing grounds, and games refuges. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 23:8A-1.
3-NJ-b.4 to 3-NJ-b.5 – Make State Land Lease Availability Determination
The NJDEP must make a determination about whether the state land is available for lease, and then the developer must obtain a State Land Lease from the NJDEP Office of Leases and Concessions prior to beginning construction. New Jersey Business Opportunities in State Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas Webpage.
3-NJ-b.6 – Report on State Land for Lease
Prior to the NJDEP Office of Leases and Concessions executing a State Land Lease, the NJDEP must prepare a report on the state land for lease. The NJDEP must prepare a report identifying the reasons for, advantages and disadvantages, and benefits and detriments of, the proposed conveyance. A conveyance means to “sell, exchange, lease for the term of 25 years or more, grant, or agree to sell, exchange, lease for a term of 25 years or more, or grant, in an amount greater than one acre.” N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-51. The report must:
- Assess the environmental and recreational impact of the proposed conveyance, including, but not limited to, the impact on endangered species and assessing the environmental and economic value of the lands proposed to be conveyed under both their current and proposed uses. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52.
3-NJ-b.7 – Provide Report to State Legislative Committees and Commissions
The NJDEP must provide the report on the state land for lease to the Senate Environment Committee, Senate State Government Committee, Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, the Assembly Environmental Committee, Assembly State Government Committee, Assembly Appropriations Committee, and State House Commission at least 30 days in advance of the date of the first scheduled public hearing. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52.
3-NJ-b.8 – Make Report Publicly Available
The NJDEP must make the report publicly available at least 30 days in advance of the date of the first scheduled public hearing. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52.
3-NJ-b.9 – Provide Notice of Public Hearing
The NJDEP must provide notice of the public hearing at least 30 days in advance of the hearing date. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-53. The NJDEP must mail a copy of the notice to:
- All parties to the proposed conveyance;
- The governing body, county clerk, and municipal clerk of every county and municipality in which the lands proposed to be conveyed are located; and
- Any person who requests in writing to the NJDEP to receive in such notices.
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-53. The NJDEP must also publish notice about the public hearing:
- In a daily or weekly newspaper of general circulation in each county and municipality in which the lands proposed to be conveyed are located;
- In the New Jersey Register; and
- In the Department of Environmental Protection Monthly Bulletin.
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-53.Notice must include the following information:
- A general description of the location of the lands proposed to be conveyed, including the street address, if any, and the lot and block numbers from the currently applicable municipal tax map;
- The name of the parties to the proposed conveyance;
- A description of the current and proposed use of the lands proposed to be conveyed;
- The date, time, and place of the public hearing;
- A statement that the public may submit written comments to the NJDEP on or before the date of the public hearing;
- A brief description of the comment procedures;
- The name and address of the person in the administering agency, division, or office designated to receive written comments and to contact for additional information and copies of any reports, analyses, hearing transcripts, or appraisals of value prepared concerning the proposed conveyance; and
- Any additional information NJDEP considers necessary or appropriate.
3-NJ-b.10 – Comment on Proposed Lease (Optional)
The public may submit comments to the NJDEP on or before the date pf the public hearing. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-54.
3-NJ-b.11 to 3-NJ-b.13 – Is the Proposed Conveyance Minor?
The NJDEP must consider whether the proposed conveyance is minor. If the proposed conveyance of state land is minor then the NJDEP must only hold one public hearing considering the conveyance (i.e., potential state land lease) in the municipality where the state land is located. A minor conveyance is where:
- The project requires leasing state lands greater than one acre, but less than five acres in size; and
- The state land is valued at less than $50,000; and
- The leasing of the state land requires approval from the State House Commission.
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52. If the proposed lease is not a minor conveyance, then the NJDEP must also hold a public hearing on the proposed conveyance in the City of Trenton, Mercer County. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52. The NJDEP must hold the public hearings at least 14 days apart (if applicable), and at least 90 days in advance of the date on which the proposed conveyance is scheduled by the State House Commission, or, if review by the State House Commission is not required under land, then 90 days in advance of the date of the proposed conveyance. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52. At the public hearing(s), the NJDEP must explain the proposed conveyance and indicate the consideration to be received by the State for agreeing to the proposed conveyance. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52.
3-NJ-b.14 – Submit Hearing Notes and Transcripts for Review
The NJDEP division or office conducting the public hearing must submit a summary of the written comments received, and the testimony heard at each public hearing pertaining to the proposed conveyance to the NJDEP Commissioner, and if applicable, to the State House Commission within 30 days after the date on which the hearing was held. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-55.
3-NJ-b.15 – Make Public Hearing Transcripts Publicly Available
The NJDEP division or office holding the public hearing must also make any public hearing transcripts available to the State House Commission and, upon request, to the public within 30 days. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-55.
3-NJ-b.16 to 3-NJ-b.17 – Review Hearing Notes and Transcripts
The State House Commission must review the public hearing notes and transcripts. Depending on the nature of the proposed lease, the State House Commission may need to approve the proposed lease prior to the NJDEP Office of Leases and Concessions executing the final state land lease. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:20-15.1. Generally, the State House Commission is a legislative commission that controls the sale and leasing of state-owned properties. State House Commission Webpage. If the State House Commission is required to approve the proposed lease, then the State House Commission will put forth proposed lease terms to be adopted by the NJDEP in the final lease. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 23:8A-1.
3-NJ-b.18 – Pay Required Fees
The developer must pay NJDEP a reasonable fee covering the administrative and any other costs incurred by NJDEP in considering the proposed lease. The developer is required to pay this administrative fee even if the developer is not awarded the lease. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:1D-52.
3-NJ-b.19 – Does the NJDEP Grant the Lease?
If the NJDEP approves the lease, the NJDEP Office of Leases and Concessions executes the State Land Lease based on the NJDEP’s findings during the public hearing(s) and any terms and conditions provided by the State House Commission upon its review. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 23:8A-1. The NJDEP Office of Leases and Concessions “administers leases, licenses, concessions and operating agreements” for the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and the NJDEP Division of Parks and Forestry.
3-NJ-b.20 – State Land Lease
The Office of Leases and Concessions administers a wide range of land lease and license agreements, including those with utility companies to access state lands. New Jersey Business Opportunities in State Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas Webpage. Typically, the Office of Leases and Concessions grants leases with a 50-year term to access state lands.
3-NJ-b.21 – Appeal Decision (If Applicable)
If the NJDEP does not approve the State Land Lease, then the developer may contest the case by appealing the decision to an administrative law judge pursuant to N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:14B-10.
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- New Jersey – N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 40 et seq., Municipalities and Counties
- New Jersey – N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 13 et seq., Conservation and Development—Parks and Reservations
- New Jersey – N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 23 et seq., Fish and Game, Wild Birds and Animals
- New Jersey – N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 52 et seq., State Government, Departments and Officers