[Ord. No. 495 § 1]
The adoption of the provisions of this chapter are intended to assist this Township in returning underutilized and abandoned industrial and commercial properties to the active tax rolls to help alleviate the residential property tax burden in this Township. It is further understood that, by assisting in the revitalization of these properties, the Township will not only ease said tax burden but will help to restore a vital resource for job creation and faster redevelopment in the region.
[Ord. No. 495 § 2]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated.
- Shall mean the Municipal Tax Assessor appointed pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 9 of Title 40A of the New Jersey Statutes.
- CONTAMINATION or CONTAMINANT
- Shall mean any discharged hazardous substance as defined pursuant to Section 3 of P.L. 1976, c. 141 (N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.1), hazardous waste as defined pursuant to Section 3 of P.L. 1976, c. 99 (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-38) or pollutant as defined pursuant to Section 3 of P.L. 1977, c. 74 (N.J.S.A. 58:10A-3).
- ENVIRONMENTAL OPPORTUNITY ZONE
- Shall mean any qualified real property that has been designated by the governing body as an "Environmental Opportunity Zone" pursuant to Section 4 of P.L. 1996, c. 413 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.153).
- QUALIFIED REAL PROPERTY
- Shall mean any parcel of real property that is now vacant or underutilized, which is in need of remediation due to a discharge or threatened discharge of a contaminant and which is listed in the most recent Department of Environmental Protection publication of known hazardous discharge sites in New Jersey prepared pursuant to P.L. 1982, c. 202 (N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.15 et seq.).
- Shall mean all necessary actions to investigate and clean up any known, suspected, or threatened discharge of contaminants, including, as necessary, the preliminary assessment, site investigation, remedial investigation, and remedial action.
[Ord. No. 495 § 3]
A property owner or contract purchaser can obtain an application form from the Tax Assessor's office. (The application must be filled out in its entirety and have all necessary attachments to be determined complete for review and recommendation.)
In addition to a completed application, the applicant for an Environmental Opportunity Zone must provide a copy of the title or purchase agreement; a copy of an executed memorandum of agreement (MUA) or administrative consent order (ACO) with the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, Site Remediation Program; and an agreement to perform the remediation. The specific Environmental Opportunity Zone, once remediated, shall be used for commercial or industrial purposes during the time period for which the real property tax exemption has been given by the Township Committee of Maurice River Township, based on the recommendation of the Tax Assessor, which time period restriction shall be included in the executed tax abatement/exemption agreement.
In addition to the foregoing, an applicant shall deposit the sum of one thousand ($1,000.00) dollars with the Chief Financial Officer of the Township, said monies to be deposited in an escrow review account to be established pursuant to Section 27-4.
Confirmation, in writing, by the Township Engineer of review of the potential environmental hazard or the placement of the property on the State of New Jersey Contaminated Site List, prepared pursuant to P.L. 1982, c. 202 (N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.15 et seq.).
Upon receipt of the documents and payment described in the subsections immediately above, the Tax Assessor shall prepare a recommendation of approval or denial for the governing body's action at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Township Committee.
In addition to reviewing the paperwork described above, the Tax Assessor shall review the property for tax delinquency status. Taxes must be current at the time of application.
The applicant must demonstrate to the Township that without this designation the remediation of an environmental hazard will not occur.
The designation of a property and its approval may be assigned to a subsequent owner with the approval of the governing body.
[Ord. No. 495 § 4]
The escrow review account is to be used to pay the fees of any professional personnel retained or employed by the Township to assist in processing, reviewing and making recommendations concerning the subject application. If, at any time, it becomes evident to the Chief Financial Officer that the escrow account is, or will become, insufficient to cover all reasonable fees for the required professional services, the applicant shall increase the account as determined by the Township Committee. Any excess funds in the escrow account remaining after all review fees have been paid shall be returned to the applicant.
The Chief Financial Officer shall deposit the funds in a separate escrow account and carry under the Township's trust fund section of accounts on the books of the Township as a review fee escrow fund. The Chief Financial Officer shall periodically report to the Township Committee on the current balance in each escrow account being held by the Township.
The payment of interest on said escrow account shall be made in accordance with standards and conditions identical to those standards and conditions set forth in the N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53.1 relating to escrow deposits for development applications under the New Jersey Land Use Law.
Payment to professionals from said escrow account for services rendered to the municipality shall be made in accordance with standards and conditions identical to those standards and conditions set forth in the N.J.S.A. 40:55D-53.2 relating to payments to professionals for review of development applications under the New Jersey Land Use Law.
[Ord. No. 495 § 4]
The real properties referred to in this section are hereby designated as Environmental Opportunity Zones, pursuant to P.L. 1995, c. 413 (N.J.S.A. 54:43.150 et seq.). This designation allows the owner or contract purchaser of the designated property to apply for final designation as set forth in this chapter. A final designation of an Environmental Opportunity Zone does not occur until the application is approved by the Tax Assessor and recommended for final approval by the Township Committee. The final approval will be granted by the Township Committee at a regularly scheduled meeting by resolution of the Township Committee. The real properties to be designated eligible for application as an Environmental Opportunity Zone are as follows:
This list may be expanded at any time by resolution of the Township Committee based upon a recommendation of the Tax Assessor and the Township Engineer, or his/her designee, or such other official designated to determine the potential or actual discharge on the property.
[Ord. No. 495 § 5]
Payments in lieu of real property taxes will be computed as a portion of the real property taxes otherwise due, according to the following schedule:
In the first tax year following execution of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) or administrative consent order (ACO), no payment in lieu of taxes otherwise due.
In the second tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than ten (10) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the third tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than thirty (30) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the fourth tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than forty (40) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the fifth tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than fifty (50) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the sixth tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than sixty (60) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the seventh tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than seventy (70) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the eighth tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than eighty (80) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the ninth tax year following execution of an MOA or ACO, an amount of not less than ninety (90) percent of taxes otherwise due.
In the tenth tax and all subsequent tax years following execution of an MOA or ACO, the exemption shall expire and the full amount of the assessed real property taxes, taking into account the value of the real property in its remediated state, shall be due.
The payments required pursuant to this section shall be made in quarterly installments according to the same schedule as real property taxes are due and payable. Failure to make these payments shall result in the termination of the exemption.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, if at any time the Township Committee finds that the MOA has been terminated at the option of the applicant, unless an ACO is issued in its stead, or that any of the conditions of this chapter are not met, the period of the property tax exemption shall end as determined by the appropriate Township officials.