Standards for Review of Highland’s Applications

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What standards does DEP use to review regulated activities?

The standards for review of regulated activities (i.e., major Highlands development) in the Highlands Preservation Area are known as the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act rules (Highlands rules.) Click here to view the Highlands rules

1. Review and Defenses

The Highland’s Council has various rules for evaluation. However, if the owner prepares his application, sometimes compensation will be denied for various reasons. One frequent reason is that a the council lacks the funds, but that is not a sufficient reason in our view.

2. Court Cases

Unfortunately, the initial attorneys decided to challenge the Highlands Act in state, rather than federal court.  While the opinion is complex, the court largely defered to the state legislature. We will assert the right to compensation before the Highland’s Council and are willing to file suit if compensation is not provided for a timely supported application.

3. Results 

In one case, the client had property with an applicaton pending for a prolonged time. which was unacceptable.   After several communications and review to confirm that the application rules had been followed, we notified the area Highland’s Council that they needed to purchase the property, provide compensation, or we would file suit.  Thereafter substantial compensation was provided for development rights.    

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