Enhanced Environmental Requirements for Certain Licenses
By Joanne Vos, Esq.
Do you have a client who intends to open, expand or relocate a child care center or educational facility in the State of New Jersey? If so, you and your client should be aware of the enhanced environmental requirements that exist for licensing these types of facilities. N.J.S.A. 52:27D-130.4 and 5 (more commonly known as the Madden Legislation) sets forth some of these environmental requirements, among other particular requirements relating to the structural and interior integrity of the building itself. Interior building concerns include radon, lead paint, and asbestos. Your client will need to retain a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) to oversee the environmental compliance; and your client may also need to retain an environmental attorney to assist in the navigation of the many complex environmental rules and regulations that will undoubtedly accompany the licensing process.
In February 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection published “Technical Guidance for Investigating Child Care Centers and Educational Facilities.” This Guidance Document will provide technical direction to the LSRP who is retained to issue the requisite Response Action Outcome (RAO) for the property upon which a facility will be situated. Many factors will be considered by the LSRP in the potential issuance of the RAO, including historic use of the property, the presence of Underground Storage Tanks (USTs), nearby or adjacent contaminated parcels, and the current environmental nature and condition of the property and the drinking water source. The LSRP will also need to assess any off-site outdoor play areas associated with or utilized by the facility, even if the off-site area is on public land. Outdoor play areas may be remediated by implementing engineering controls but the controls must meet specific standards in order to be deemed adequately protective of human health and the environment.
Licensing a child care center or education facility is a highly technical, multi-faceted effort which will involve the coordination of the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Community Affairs, the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection. If not accomplished in full compliance with the law, the restorative process will be even more lengthy and costly than your client may have originally anticipated. Your client will certainly want to protect his or her investment but most importantly, the children who will frequent the facility must be protected from any compromised environmental condition which may exist upon the property.
Published in the September 2017 issue of The Middlesex Advocate, the publication of the Middlesex County Bar Association.