What is a tax abatement?

“Tax abatements are reductions of or exemptions from taxes granted typically to businesses and developers to encourage them to make improvements to property or to locate a project in a distressed or blighted area.”

The McCollister Property Warehouses project has requested a 5-year tax abatement from the township.

Instead of paying the usual taxes based on property value, the developer would pay a reduced amount of _____.  This would start once construction is complete and last for 5 years.

95% percent of this money would go to the municipality, 5% to the state, and 0% to the school district.

Tax abatements are not mandatory by law. They are granted only at the discretion of the Township Council.

Resolution 2016-R-210

This 2010 report by the NJ State Comptroller goes into more details about tax abatements.

I hear they are building 2 warehouses totaling more than a million square feet on the McCollister property. How did that happen?

  • Dan McCollister decided to sell his McCollister’s Transportation Group property bordering Route 130 and Neck Road south to the Steeplechase development.
  • Last year, township council received a request from DCT Industrial Trust to declare the property to be an area in need of development for the purpose of applying for a tax abatement.
  • The township planning board and council voted to deem this property “in need of redevelopment”
  • The redevelopment plan for the property was created and approved.
  • A five-year tax abatement for the builder (DCT) is up for approval
  • DCT created a  site plan and presented it to the public at an informal informational meeting.

Why didn’t I know about this sooner?

At the information meeting on May 24, someone on the planning board said that they were only required to put a notice in the newspaper and that they were not required to inform nearby property owners individually by mail.  This looks to be correct per the  NJ Local Redevelopment and Housing Law N.J.S.A. 40A:12A. The law states that since the zoning was already in place (light industrial), the township was not required to give residents a written notice.

Who will own the warehouses?

DCT Industrial Trust will own and operate the warehouses and surrounding property. DCT Industrial Trust is a real estate company, headquartered in Denver, “specializing in the ownership, acquisition, development, leasing and management of bulk-distribution and light-industrial properties located in high-volume distribution markets in the United States.”

Who will occupy the warehouses?

Currently, there are no tenants lined up to lease any of the warehouse space. (Single warehouses could theoretically house more than one company at a time.)

When will construction begin and how long will it last?

Current plans are to start development in the fall of 2017. The first step is preparing the land for construction. This includes grading the land and constructing berms. After that, the warehouses will be built. The entire project is expected to take around 18 months.

Why does the township think the warehouses are a good idea?

The planning board and council want to stop the farming use of 41 acres of the land so they can collect more property taxes from it. (Land that is actively being farmed is taxed at a much lower rate than land that is being used for business, even if the land is zoned light industrial, as it is.) The township also expects the warehouses to bring new jobs.

What is the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law? (N.J.S.A 40A:12A)

This is the law that outlines how a property may be deemed “in need of development.” This law also states that when a property is deemed “in need of development”, the town may offer a tax abatement to a developer in order to encourage industrial development.

How is land that has been farmed for over 50 years “underutilized”?

It is unclear to me whether farmland can be considered “blight” or “underutilized.”

Can the township rezone the McCollister lot to prevent such a development?

Not presently, due to the Municipal Land Use Law “Time of Application.” Briefly, this states that once a developer has submitted their application to obtain a building permit, that the zoning laws present at the time of submission will hold. (See below for more on “Time of Application”)

What is “the application” and when was it submitted by DCT.

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