We not only celebrated May 5, 2011 with the traditional Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but those in the development community celebrated the day as the date on which a new statute, commonly known as the Time of Application Rule, became effective. This new provision modifies the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law to lock in development regulations as of the filing of an application.
Under the old Time of Decision Rule, a developer was bound by all development regulations in effect, not coincidentally, at the time of the decision. This rule applies common sense to the regulation of municipal land use in New Jersey by making those ordinance provisions in effect at the time of submission of an application binding and not subject to change, except for ordinances relating to health and public safety. While reaching consensus with local officials is always a useful objective in the pursuit of development approvals, whether or not to approach such officials before an application is filed will need to be considered anew in light of the Time of Application Rule.
You can access a copy of the Time of Application rule online here.