By Mandy Coriston
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed Bill S3661 on Friday, Aug 23, sending the bill back to the State Senate with amendments to be voted on by both houses of the legislature.
The bill, which passed through the Assembly and Senate earlier this summer, is meant to refine language in Chapter 106 of the Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFDA). The amended legislature was heard in Senate session on Monday, Aug 26, and was passed after a waiver of Senate Rule 23:4, which would have called for a final reading to be held on a future date. The bill now heads to the Assembly, and if passed, will once again return the governor’s desk. The last amendment to PREDFDA, also known as the Radburn Law, took place in July of 2017, and while its purpose was to clarify voting and membership rights, it caused neighborhood rifts statewide; some communities were interpreting that amendment to mean that all residents should be mandated to pay membership dues to lake clubs and associations where such membership was previously voluntary.
Locally, that interpretation led to animosity in Cranberry Lake and Forest Lakes in Byram Township, as well as some lake communities in Morris County. In Byram, much of the last year has been consumed with friction between the Cranberry Lake Community Club and a group of residents who feel that the CLCC is overstepping its bounds by requiring membership in a club that has traditionally been a recreational group and not a homeowners’ association.
Also at play in Cranberry Lake is a lack of funds to fix the historic footbridge, as well as the club’s holdover lease with the state Department of Environmental Protection for the clubhouse, beachfront and the footbridge itself. If the governor receives and signs the amended version of S3661, it will immediately take effect retroactive to July 13, 2017, the date of the last amendment which is the root of the current confusion and discord.
Senator Steve Oroho, and Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space (R-24) all sponsored the legislation, and issued a statement on Friday after the governor took action.
“While the bill passed by the Legislature attempted to provide some more in-depth clarity when it comes to the imposition of lake fees,” the statement reads, “the governor's conditional veto still maintains the spirit of the legislation by making it clear that the Radburn Law (P.L. 2017, c.106) did not give associations any new authority to impose mandatory assessments and any lien which was instituted based on such a misinterpretation of the Radburn Law is declared null and void.”