Archive for the ‘Municipal’ Category

Why You Need Attorney Representation at a Planning Board Meeting

Friday, July 10th, 2015

There are many functions of a municipal Planning Board; the main purpose is to ensure that permissible use of land is approved or in the alternative, that the use complies with New Jersey’s Land Use Laws and local municipal ordinances.

One of the responsibilities of a Planning Board is to approve plans for business owners/companies who desire an allowable use of land within a municipality. Accordingly, Planning Board agendas frequently include appearances/applications by business owners or companies. There are laws and local ordinances that govern the use of land within municipalities and Planning Boards are in place to ensure that same are complied with in ever application for land use within their municipality. Local ordinances vary from municipality to municipality.

In the State of New Jersey, businesses/companies are required by law to be represented by an attorney before a Planning Board. Given some of the complexities of land use matters, the State recognizes the importance of applicants’ representation by attorneys skilled in the area of land use. Land use attorneys and their knowledge of the law and local ordinances guide, assist and navigate applicants through the Planning Board application process.

Another function of Planning Boards is to hold public forums for citizens, local business owners, and members of the municipality to discuss upcoming plans and projects. If for instance a resident or local business owner wishes to appear before a Planning Board to voice their opinion on an upcoming project within the municipality, they are not required to be represented by attorney.

As a firm that specializes in land use law, Grace, Marmero & Associates offers an array of land use services to Planning Board applicants. If you are in need of a land use attorney, feel free to contact us for a consultation at or by calling (856)848-6440.

Public Entities Trust Grace Marmero

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

What do public entities look for when they choose a law firm to handle their legal needs? There are a few factors that may be considered, like cost and availability. One of the biggest considerations, and arguably the most important, is experience.

Grace, Marmero, and Associates has the experience that many municipalities trust to handle the sensitive legal need of the local government. These services include:

    • Serving as Solicitor for municipalities such as Deptford Township, Deptford School Board, Eastampton Township, Riverside Township, Township of Galloway, Edgewater Sewer Authority  and Gloucester County Insurance Commission
    • Representing Deptford Township, Borough of Clementon, Eastampton Township, Pittsgrove Township, Fairfield and Northfield Township, City of Millville, City of Bridgeton, Cumberland County Utilities Authority, Cumberland County Improvement Authority, Cumberland County Technical Education Center, Rowan College of SJ, Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority, Neptune Sewerage Authority as Labor and Employment Solicitors
    • Representing City of Bridgeton, City of Wildwood, Washington Township, Wall Township and Matawan as Special Counsel
    • Representing Cumberland County Improvement Authority, Cumberland County Empowerment Zone as Special Projects Attorney
    • Serving as Litigation Attorney for Deptford Township, and Cumberland County
    • Serving as Conflict Attorney for Franklin Township, and Cumberland County Improvement Authority
    • Serving as Defense Counsel for the Camden County Insurance Commissions, New Jersey Housing Authority JIF and New Jersey Utilities Authority JIF
    • Representing Deptford Township, City of Burlington and Burlington County Insurance Fund Commission as Workman’s Compensation Defense Attorney
    • Serving as General Liability Defense Counsel for Burlington County Insurance Fund Commission
    • Representing Deptford Township, Riverside Township, Eastampton Township and City of Lambertville as their COAH Attorneys
    • Serving as Redevelopment Attorneys for Deptford Township,  Riverside Township, City of Wildwood
    • Representing Washington Township as Municipal Utilities Solicitor, Deptford Township as their Municipal Utilities Authority Conflict Solicitor, Riverside Municipal Utilities Authority as Solicitor and Labor Attorney and Cumberland County Utilities Authority as Solicitor and Labor Attorney
    • Serving as In Rem Foreclosure Solicitor for Deptford Township, Township of Willingboro, Riverside Township, City of Bridgeton, City of Millville and Maurice River
    • Serving as Tax Foreclosure Attorney for Fairfield Township, Egg Harbor City and City of Wildwood
    • Serving as Tax Appeal Attorney for Riverside Township, Borough of Keyport, Borough of Bound Brook and Lake Como
    • Representing Camden County as the VRO Attorney and their Condemnation Attorney
    • Representing Delaware River Port Authority as Legal Counsel
    • Serving as Outside Legal Counsel for Bergen County
    • Representing Bergen County Improvement Authority as Special Litigation Counsel Pool
    • Representing Borough of Matawan Special Counsel Pool
    • Serving as Attorney Pool and Prosecutor for Township of Brick
    • Serving as Alternate Prosecutor for Lakewood and Red Bank
    • Serving as Civil Commitment Attorney Burlington County

Grace, Marmero & Associates also currently represents several Education Institutions including Bridgeton Board of Education, Vineland Board of Education, Deptford Board of Education, Camden’s Promise Charter School, Benjamin Banneker Prep School and Bright Horizon Charter School.

In the News: Dr. Maz leads Health Care Reform Panel

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Long, Marmero associate Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli is a leading expert on the effects of the recently passed health-care reform law. Below is a recent article about a panel he convened for the professionals serving at Cooper University Hospital. If you have questions about how the new reforms will impact your municipality, institution, business or organization call Long, Marmero & Associates to discuss specific strategies.

Cooper told of health-care law
Friday, April 16, 2010 – Gloucester County Times
By Christina Paciolla

Several health-care professionals at Cooper University Hospital in Camden learned a little more about what the health-care reform law means to them.

A panel of experts Ð led by Anthony Mazzarelli, medical director of emergency medicine at Cooper Ð were at the hospital on Thursday afternoon to explain the bill’s specifics and what can be expected at a hospital level.

“Our goal was to give you experts to help educate you on this bill,” Mazzarelli said.

The experts on hand were Sanford M. Barth, of the Graduate School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University; Roland D. McDevitt, director of health-care research at Towers Watson’s Research & Innovation Center in Arlington, Va.; Pete Parvis, health-care attorney for Venable LLP; and Marcus Rayner, executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance.

After President Barack Obama signed the nearly $1 trillion health-care overhaul bill recently, health-care attorneys like Parvis have been breaking down the bill so parts can be understood easier.

Mazzarelli said that he and other officials have been closely scrutinizing Massachusetts. There, a 2006 health care reform law mandated that nearly every resident get a state-government-regulated minimum level of coverage for health care.

“Emergency room visits increased 7 to 10 percent,” said Mazzarelli. “I am presuming we will see an increase similar to that.”

With so many millions more people able to obtain coverage over the next few years under the health-care bill, Mazzarelli said that hospital officials are studying trends now to better prepare them for a possible increase.

Right now, the changes to health care haven’t been felt too much on the hospital’s end, Mazzarelli said, but understanding the bill and knowing which parts will be implemented when is important.

Thursday’s panel discussion was recorded and will be made available soon so every health-care professional at Cooper can benefit.

“Our goal would be to provide the best possible care we can,” said Mazzarelli. “That’s why we want to understand this bill.”

Lowering Speed Limits in Municipalities

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

        While serving on the Shamong Township Committee one of the most discussed issues was that of speeders and appropriate speed limits on municipally controlled roads. Shamong has its share of state and county roads over which the municipal officials had no control. Attempts to change speed limits on the municipality controlled roads was an onerous process, thwarting the will of the local body to react to changes in the community and the will of our constituents.
        In the last hours of the Jon Corzine administration the Governor signed into effect legislation attempting to pave the way for municipalities to address this issue. S1234/A1144 empowers municipalities and counties to set their own “reasonable and safe speed limits” for self-contained roadways within their borders without having to seek approval from the state government, as long as a licensed professional engineer agrees the changes are appropriate.

        A municipality may, without the approval of the Commissioner of Transportation, do the following by ordinance or resolution, as appropriate:

(a) designate parking restrictions, no passing zones, mid-block crosswalks, and crosswalks at intersections, and erect appropriate signs and install appropriate markings, on streets under municipal jurisdiction which are totally self-contained within that municipality and have no direct connection with any street in any other municipality;

(b) designate reasonable and safe speed limits and erect appropriate signs, on any street under municipal jurisdiction;

(c) designate any intersection as a stop or yield intersection and erect appropriate signs, on streets under municipal jurisdiction which are totally self-contained within that municipality and have no direct connection with any street in any other municipality; and

(d) designate any intersection as a stop intersection and erect appropriate signs, on streets under municipal jurisdiction if that intersection is located within 500 feet of a school, or of a playground or youth recreational facility and the street on which the stop sign will be erected is contiguous to that school, or playground or youth recreational facility.

        These powers will allow municipalities to address speed, parking and traffic safety issues on a local level, with the guidance of their engineer and solicitor rather than appeal to Trenton for permission. The changes certainly stand to streamline the process and make local government more responsive.
        Some towns, like State Police patrolled Port Republic will be able to standardize their speed limits at 25 mph, making it easier to patrol and enforce the roads of the community. Port Republic Mayor Gary Giberson believes it will benefit the community and the officers who patrol within its borders. “Unless they’re really familiar with our town, they’d have to stop and (say),’Wait, where am I again? I’m east of what road? I’m west of what road?'” Giberson said. “Making all of our roads 25 miles per hour will make our town a little easier to patrol.”
        For County-controlled roads Port Republic and other municipalities will need to petition for changes to these roadways. There are also special considerations when roads cross from municipality to municipality.
        In the next few months local governing bodies should be looking at the speed limits in their town, considering how they affect traffic, residences, schools, police, foot traffic and other concerns. Trenton has just given these officials a useful tool to make changes which before enactment of this law were likely prohibitive.
        If you would like to discuss this or any municipal issue please call us to set up a conversation about your specific concerns. Long Marmero is committed to facilitating good government by educating and empowering local officials to lead and lead well.

For more information about how this new legislation is affecting the Atlantic County town of Port Republic, read Rob Spahr’s article in the February 22, 2010 Atlantic City Press.

Jim Schroeder is an attorney with Long, Marmero & Associates, a firm specializing in municipal governance.

Municipal Appointments for 2010

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Long, Marmero and Associates is pleased to announce the following Municipal Appointments for 2010. We are honored to represent these municipalities, assisting them in their pursuit of cost effective, good government. We welcome conversations with municipal officials grappling with issues relating to these areas of the law and any governmental or administrative concerns.

Pemberton Special Counsel

Delran Solicitor, COAH and Redevelopment Counsel

Camden County VOR Program

Camden County Improvement Authority Project Counsel

Deptford Solicitor, Redevelopment, Tax and COAH Counsel

East Greenwich Township COAH Counsel

Monroe Township Zoning Counsel

Gloucester County WRAP and Pool Attorney for Improvement Authority

Cumberland County Improvement Authority Solicitor

Shamong Township Public Defender

Mount Laurel and COAH – Another Round?

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Monday November 30, 2009

The Sunday Edition of the Burlington County Times reported that Mount Laurel Township will once again challenge the regulations on its municipalities established by the state Council on Affordable Housing.

Mount Laurel and New Jersey’s attempts to increase affordable housing in the state have to be intertwined since

The first round, Southern Burlington County N.A.A.C.P. v. Township of Mount Laurel, 67 N.J. 151 (1975), attacked the system of land use regulation in place in the Township of Mount Laurel on the grounds that low and moderate income families were unlawfully excluded from the municipality. In the decision, the N.J. Supreme Court held that zoning ordinances, which make it physically and economically impossible to provide low and moderate-income housing, were unconstitutional.

The court’s decision left more questions than answers as to how to achieve the goal of affordable housing. As the state and municipalities attempted to comply with the decision of the court, officials became increasingly aware it would be difficult to implement an effective strategy to address the issue. Specifically, what was each municipality’s “fair share”?

The second Mount Laurel decision, South Burlington Count N.A.A.C.P. v. Township of Mount Laurel, 92 N.J. 158 (1983) was delivered eight years after Mount Laurel I. This decision, along with five other cases dealing with the questions raised by the first case became known as Mount Laurel II.

The ruling created a fair share formula to measure each municipality’s obligation to provide affordable housing, and by fashioning a “builder’s remedy” to compel municipalities to fulfill this obligation. The responsibility for working out the details of this decision was assigned by the Supreme Court to three specially designated trial judges who heard numerous cases between 1983 and 1986. In 1986 most of these cases would be transferred to the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), created in 1985.

The most recent cases moving through the court system deal with a decision made by COAH in applying the “fair share” formula within the third round of COAH requirements. One of the keys to understanding the issue is to know what is meant by the “third round methodology”. COAH’s “third round methodology” for addressing municipalities’ Mount Laurel obligations covers the period from 2004 to 2018. The first round rules covered the period from 1987 through 1993, and the second round rules, covered the period from 1994 through 1999.
Mount Laurel is presently challenging the COAH rules which require their “fair share” of affordable housing to be escaladed from 226 to 1,421 units in this third round. Mount Laurel has until February 28, 2010 to submit a plan for how it intends to reach this lofty goal. Officials in Mount Laurel are challenging the requirements.

Mount Laurel, the League of Municipalities (on behalf of over 200 municipalities) and dozens of other municipalities just argued their challenge to the revised Third Round Regulations on December 1, 2009.  A decision is expected from the court within 90 days thereafter.  Governor Elect Chris Christie may also take action with respect to the current implementation of COAH’s regulations after he takes his oath of office on January 19, 2010.

COAH requirements are one of the most complicated and onerous requirements for local officials to keep up with. The numerous Mount Laurel cases, and rulings make it nearly impossible for even a full time public servant to keep up with the changes and potential changes of COAH. One of the most prudent decisions a municipality can make is to hire an experienced COAH Counsel to stay compliant and in many cases in front of the curve regarding potential changes. If you have questions about COAH and its impact on your municipality, sound legal counsel is your biggest asset to navigating the ever-changing landscape of COAH.

Countdown to 2010 Census – New Jersey Municipalities Have A Vested Interest

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Municipal, County and State officials have been gearing up for big changes in the Garden State in 2010. Most are looking to the Governor’s Office in the Statehouse to be the catalyst, but nondescript temporary offices across the state will also have a say in the state’s political makeup in the coming years. These offices will be the hub of activity for the 2010 Census.

Starting with a mailing in March of 2010, Census forms will be delivered to every household in New Jersey. April 1, 2010 is National Census Day and in the months of May and June workers will be on the street collecting data from households which have yet to be counted. As the nation prepares for Christmas next year the Census Bureau will deliver the population numbers to the President.

Municipalities have a vested interest in seeing that every person residing in their borders are counted, because their votes in Trenton and Washington D.C. depend on it.

Article 1, Section 2, of the United States Constitution requires that a census be taken every 10 years for the purpose of apportioning the United States House of Representatives. U.S. Const. art. 1, § 2. In the 1964 case of Reynolds v. Sims, the United States Supreme Court determined that the general basis of apportionment should be “one person, one vote.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964). This rule means that, generally, electoral districts must be equal in population according to the most recent census so that each person’s vote is equally weighted. These population numbers determine the members New Jersey sends to the House of Representatives. These numbers are collected house by house, block by block, municipality by municipality.

One of the biggest issues or complaints historically about redistricting is the potential for gerrymandering – or the practice of designing a district to create a strong advantage toward one political party, essentially creating a “safe district”. Federally the issue gave rise to a Pennsylvania case, Vieth v. Jubelirer 541 U.S. 267 (2004), which cemented the right of elected officials to choose their constituents however the state deems appropriate by its Constitution.

Every ten years, after the federal decennial census, New Jersey’s Senate and General Assembly districts are redrawn by an Apportionment Commission to maintain an equal population in each district.  Created under Article IV, Section III of the New Jersey State Constitution, the Commission consists of 10 members, five each appointed by the chairs of the state committees of the two major political parties.  Its mandate is to produce an apportionment plan by February 1 of the year following the federal decennial census or within one month of receipt of the census figures, whichever is later.  If the Commission fails to meet its deadline or declares that it will be unable to do so, the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court appoints an eleventh member.

In February 2011 we will know the impact of the “census summer” on towns and municipalities. Places like Hammonton and Folsom who find themselves in Ocean County dominated 9th District may remain or end up in the 2nd, 6th, or 8th. Clayton, Mantua, Winslow, Waterford, Buena, Buena Vista, Pine Hill, Shamong, Florence and others may face similar fates.

Certainly the political landscape of 2010 will be dominated by the changes within the Statehouse but quietly another wave will have lasting impact on South Jersey municipalities.

Link to the Current State Legislative Map

Post Election NJ: Thoughts turn to New Jersey League of Municipalities

Friday, November 13th, 2009

In the days following local, state and county elections every year attention turns to the Atlantic City Convention Center and the State Convention of New Jersey League of Municipalities. The 94th Convention will be held this year November 17-20 with seminars, presentations and consultations with some of the top professionals in the state.

Long, Marmero & Associates will once again have a strong presence at League. Partners Al Marmero and Doug Long will be holding consultations with current and prospective clients. Shamong Township Committeeman and Associate Jim Schroeder will also be on the floor and attending seminars.

If you are attending League and would like to meet up to discuss the unique needs of your municipality or government agency please call or email us.