Township of Waterford, NJ
Camden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Waterford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former Art. I, Exemption from Assessment for Home Improvement, adopted 3-22-1978 by Ord. No. 78-2 (Ch. 109, Art. I, of the 1974 Code), was repealed 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5.
[Adopted 12-13-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-12; readopted 5-8-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-6]
A. 
The Preamble hereinabove is hereby incorporated by reference herein.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Ord. No. 2000-12, including the Preamble is on file in the Township offices.
B. 
The Township of Waterford may enter into agreements with applicants for tax abatement on commercial and industrial projects which satisfy the article requirements hereinafter set forth. The agreement shall provide for an abatement from real property taxation on these projects for a period of not more than five years. During such five-year period, the agreement shall provide for payments to the Township of Waterford in lieu of full property taxes, which payment shall be calculated as set forth hereinafter in this article. Applications for abatement from taxation may be filed to take effect for the first full year commencing after the tax year in which the authorizing ordinance is adopted, and upon completion of the project for tax years thereafter as set forth in P.L. 1991, c. 441 (N.J.S.A. 40A:21-1 et seq.), but no application for tax abatement shall be filed for an abatement to take initial effect for the 11th full tax year or any tax year occurring thereafter unless this article is readopted by the governing body of the Township of Waterford.
[Amended 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
[Amended 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
To be considered for tax abatement a new commercial or industrial structure must contain a minimum of 5,000 square feet of floor space for use. The commercial or industrial structure may be divided into ownership interests of less than 5,000 square feet as long as the structure itself is at least 5,000 square feet. In this type situation the initial applicant must seek tax abatement for the lesser ownership interests, as may be approved by the Township Planning Board, and any future owner of the lesser interest shall meet the conditions which initially qualified the property for tax abatement to continue to receive this benefit. An enlargement of an existing commercial or industrial structure must be more than 30% of the existing volume of the structure as defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:21-9. An improvement to an existing commercial or industrial structure must meet the requirements as defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:21-3n.
A. 
A preliminary application is required to be filed with the Township Tax Assessor, with a copy to the Township Governing Body, prior to the issuance of a construction permit for the project. No construction permit shall be issued to an applicant seeking tax abatement until such time as the preliminary application has been filed in accordance with the Township ordinance requirements and the Construction Office advised of same in writing by the Township Tax Assessor. If a preliminary application is not filed, said property will not be eligible for tax abatement. In the event a construction permit is not issued within one year from the date the preliminary application is filed, the preliminary application shall be deemed null and void.
[Amended 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
B. 
Upon the filing of a preliminary application, the Township Tax Assessor will review said application to determine if it meets the requirements of the Township ordinance for abatement and a tax abatement agreement. The Tax Assessor shall provide this determination to the Township Governing Body within 60 days of receipt of a properly completed preliminary application. In the event the Tax Assessor determines that the application meets the ordinance requirements, then the Township Committee shall adopt an ordinance authorizing a tax abatement agreement with the applicant, subject to the following conditions:
(1) 
That the applicant shall file a final application for tax abatement with the Tax Assessor in the form prescribed, within 30 days, including Saturdays and Sundays, following completion of construction. A copy of the final application shall also be filed with the Governing Body. Failure to file shall automatically void the preliminary application approval.
(2) 
The completed construction shall be in accordance with the original Township approvals on which the tax abatement agreement was initially authorized based on the preliminary application.
(3) 
The applicant has continued to meet the requirements of the Township ordinance for tax abatement.
C. 
Every properly completed final application for abatement shall be evaluated for approval by the Township Tax Assessor within 30 days of filing. The Tax Assessor shall notify the Governing Body in writing of the approval determination. Upon receipt of the written approval from the Township Tax Assessor the appropriate Township officials shall then proceed to execute the tax abatement agreement previously authorized by the specific ordinance adopted as part of the preliminary application approval process. The applicant shall be required to sign this tax abatement agreement prior to the Township signatories.
D. 
Separate applications must be filed for each building involved in phased projects.
[Added 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
E. 
In the event the use listed on the preliminary application is changed subsequent to the issuance of the construction permit for the project, the Township Committee shall adopt an ordinance authorizing a tax abatement with the applicant, provided that the new use is of a type listed in § 245-10 as a qualifying project, that the applicant has submitted a revised preliminary application listing the new use, and that the Township Tax Assessor determines that the revised preliminary application meets the requirements of this article.
[Added 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
The preliminary and final application must be on a form prescribed by the Township Tax Assessor and by the Director of the Division of Taxation in the Department of Treasury, and shall provide the following information:
A. 
A general description of this project for which abatement is sought;
B. 
A legal description of all real estate necessary for the project;
C. 
Plans and drawings including a site layout on the total lot area, and other documents as may be required by the Governing Body to demonstrate the structure and design of the project;
D. 
A description of the number, classes, types of employees and average estimated wages and salaries by employee class, to be employed at the project site within two years of the completion of the project;
E. 
A statement of the reasons for seeking tax abatement on the project, and a description of the benefits to be realized by the applicant if tax abatement is granted;
F. 
Estimates of the cost of completing such project;
G. 
A statement showing:
(1) 
The real property taxes currently being assessed at the project site;
(2) 
Estimated tax payments that would be made annually by the applicant on the project during the period of tax abatement; and
(3) 
Estimated tax payments that would be made by the applicant on the project during the first year following the termination of the tax abatement agreement.
H. 
A description of any lease agreements between the applicant and proposed users of the project, and a history and description of the user's business;
I. 
Proof of payment of taxes through the current quarter;
J. 
Other pertinent data regarding the relationship, agreements and status of other properties owned by the applicant within the Township of Waterford; and
K. 
Such other pertinent information as the Governing Body may require.
The following type projects/uses will be considered for Tax Abatement by the Township of Waterford:
A. 
Light industrial, light manufacturing, and indoor warehousing facilities which are nonpolluting and nonnoxious;
B. 
Scientific or industrial research engineering laboratory, testing or experimental laboratory or similar establishment for research or product development;
C. 
Administrative offices;
D. 
Wholesale distributorships;
E. 
Experimental, research testing, dental or medical laboratories;
F. 
Carpet or rug cleaning: laundry and dry cleaning;
G. 
Job printing and newspaper or book publishing;
H. 
Baking and food and dairy processing;
I. 
Corporate and professional offices;
J. 
General service and repair shops, including carpenter, cabinet making, furniture repair, plumbing or similar shop;
K. 
Office of a builder, carpenter, caterer, cleaner, contractor, decorator, electrician, furrier, mason, painter, plumber, roofer, upholsterer, and similar nonnuisance businesses, excluding open storage of materials and excluding open storage of motor vehicles;
L. 
Veterinary hospital, provided that all animals are kept in a permanent enclosed structure and are not within 150 feet of any existing residential use or zone;
M. 
Businesses and instructional school, including trade school;
N. 
Nursing homes, philanthropic clinics, residential health care facilities and convalescent centers;
O. 
General commercial establishments permitted by zoning;
P. 
Accessory uses on the same lot with and customarily incidental to any of the above-permitted uses as approved by the Township Planning Board.
Q. 
Charter schools.
[Added 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
A. 
All tax abatement agreements must be authorized by a separate ordinance for each application.
B. 
A tax abatement agreement shall provide for the applicant to pay to the Township in lieu of full property tax payments an amount annually to be computed by the following formula:
TAX PHASE-IN BASIS
The applicant must pay to the Township in lieu of full property tax payments an amount equal to a percentage of taxes otherwise due, according to the following schedule:
(1) 
In the first full tax year after completion, no payment in lieu of taxes unless otherwise due
(2) 
In the second tax year, an amount not less than 20% of taxes otherwise due;
(3) 
In the third tax year, an amount not less than 40% of taxes otherwise due;
(4) 
In the fourth tax year, an amount not less than 60% of taxes otherwise due;
(5) 
In the fifth tax year, an amount not less than 80% of taxes otherwise due.
C. 
All tax agreements entered into by virtue of this article shall be in effect for no more than five full tax years next following the date of completion of the project. Within 30 days of the execution of a tax abatement agreement, the Township shall forward a copy of said agreement to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs.
D. 
No exemption or abatement shall be granted, or tax agreement entered into, with respect to any property for which property taxes are delinquent or remain unpaid, or for which penalties for nonpayment of taxes are due.
E. 
If during any tax year prior to the termination of the tax agreement, the property owner ceases to operate or disposes of the property, or fails to meet the conditions for qualifying, then the tax which would have otherwise been payable for each tax year shall become due and payable from the property owner as if no abatement had been granted. The property owner shall advise the Township of any change in use or ownership prior to same occurring. Failure to so advise shall be cause to declare the property owner in breach of the tax abatement agreement. The Township Governing Body shall notify the property owner and the Tax Collector of the disqualification, and upon such notice, the Tax Collector shall within 15 days thereof notify the owner of the property of the taxes due and payable to the Township. With respect to the disposal of property, where it is determined that the new owner of the property will continue to use the property pursuant to the conditions which qualified the property for tax abatement, no tax shall be due and the agreement shall remain in effect. The new owner shall be required to submit necessary information to the Tax Assessor to verify continuing eligibility for the tax abatement benefit.
F. 
At termination of the tax abatement agreement, the property shall be subject to all applicable real property taxes as provided by law; but nothing herein shall prohibit a project, at the termination of an agreement, from qualifying for and receiving the full benefits of any other tax preferences provided by law.
[Amended 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
As used in this article, the following definitions shall apply:
ASSESSOR
The officer of the Township of Waterford charged with the duty of assessing real property for the purpose of general taxation.
COMMERCIAL OR INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE
A structure or part thereof used for the manufacturing, processing or assembling of material or manufactured products, or for research, office, industrial, commercial, retail, recreational, hotel or motel facilities, or warehousing purposes, or for any combination thereof, which the Governing Body determines will tend to maintain or provide gainful employment within the municipality, assist in the economic development of the municipality, maintain or increase the tax base of the municipality and maintain or diversify and expand commerce within the municipality. It shall not include any structure or part thereof used or to be used by any business relocated from another qualifying municipality unless the total square footage of the floor area of the structure or part thereof used or to be used by the business at the new site together with the total square footage of the land used or to be used by the business at the new site exceeds the total square footage of that utilized by the business at its current site of operation by at least 10%; and the property that the business is relocating to has been the subject of a remedial action plan costing in excess of $250,000 performed pursuant to an administrative consent order entered into pursuant to authority vested in the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.
COMPLETION
Substantially ready for the intended use for which a building or structure is constructed.
CONSTRUCTION
The development of a commercial or industrial structure or the enlargement of the volume of an existing commercial or industrial structure by more than 30%, but shall not mean the conversion of an existing building or structure to another use.
IMPROVEMENT
A modernization, rehabilitation, renovation, alteration, or repair which produces a physical change in an existing building or structure that improves the safety, sanitation, decency or attractiveness of the building or structure as a place for human habitation or work, and which does not change its permitted use. In the case of commercial or industrial structures, it shall not include ordinary painting, repairs and replacement of maintenance items, or an enlargement of the volume of an existing structure by more than 30%. In no case shall it include the repair of fire or other damage to a property for which payment of a claim was received by any person from an insurance company at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding the filing of an application pursuant to this article.
[Added 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
PHASED PROJECTS
Commercial or industrial construction involving multiple structures that are built separately.
[Added 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
An application filing fee of $300 shall be paid by the applicant at the time of filing the preliminary application. The application fee will provide for the administrative services to be undertaken by the Township Tax Assessor, and any other Township official, in order to render a determination on the applicant's eligibility for a tax abatement. The filing fee shall cover the cost for both the preliminary application and final application review and determination process.
[Added 3-25-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-5]
A. 
Every tax abatement agreement required by this article shall be subject to payment of a nonrefundable escrow in the amount of $1,000 to be paid by the applicant at the time the applicant submits a preliminary application to the Tax Assessor in accordance with § 245-8 of this article. The required escrow shall be used to pay the cost of professional review by the Township Solicitor, Engineer, or the professionals employed by the Township to review and make recommendations regarding the tax abatement agreement.
B. 
At the time of submission of an application to the Township Tax Assessor, the applicant shall be required to execute an escrow agreement with the Township to cover all necessary and reasonable costs incurred for the technical and professional review of the tax abatement agreement. The amounts specified for escrow are estimates which shall be paid prior to the Township's review of the tax abatement application. In the event an additional amount is required for more than the amount specified in the escrow agreement, the applicant shall pay all additional sums required prior to the Township's execution of the tax abatement agreement.
C. 
To the extent not otherwise inconsistent with this section, the escrow fee required by this article shall be administered by the Chief Financial Officer of the Township in the manner and as set forth generally in Chapter 176 of the Code of the Township of Waterford, captioned "Land Use, Development and Zoning," § 176-20.
D. 
The Township Clerk or his/her designee shall maintain an itemized account of the escrow on deposit for each application and shall, upon the request of the applicant, supply a copy of said account.