After spending 15 years attempting to sell a property within a New Jersey municipality, a Fortune 500 client learned the site was in need of a cleanup that required ISRA (New Jersey's Industrial Site Recovery Act) clearance by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) before the sale could proceed.
ISRA is one of the nation's toughest environmental laws. Industrial properties closed or sold require an environmental investigation; if the property in question is contaminated, the property must be remediated before it can be transferred.
"On testing of the property, our client discovered lead contamination in historic fill for the site. Our client was not the cause of the contamination, and hadn't brought in the contaminated fill," said team leader Janet Kole, shareholder and chair of Flaster/Greenberg's Environmental Law Practice Group. Attempts to delineate the soil contamination showed that it stretched from a warehouse on the property around to a public road owned by the municipality.
To meet NJDEP requirements, our client was required to prepare and file a Deed Notice to the property, warning all future buyers, as well as anyone who reviewed the filed deed, that contamination remained on the property. A problem resulted because the municipality owned part of the impacted area, and would have to agree to a Deed Notice or allow our client to Deed Notice the street. To expedite the approval process, our attorneys were successful in getting the municipality to pass a resolution vacating the rights of the public in the road. Once the rights of the public were vacated, the road was proportionately deeded to the parcels adjacent to it. As a result, our attorneys were able to Deed Notice the impacted part of the road which allowed the site to meet NJDEP regulations for sale of the property.
Upon receipt of all the necessary environmental approvals, we assisted our client with the sale of the property by preparing the appropriate conveyancing deeds (including the portion of the vacated road conveyed to our client).
With our assistance, the portion of the road conveyed to our client, along with the property they already owned, received all of the necessary clearances and was successfully transferred to a third party buyer.
Shareholder Michele Tarantino served as local counsel for the Real Estate transaction.