This One’s for the Bees: Farmland Assessment Act Inapplicable to Dual-Use Property Consisting of Cellular Tower and Beekeeping Activities

by:  Matthew J. Schiller

The Farmland Assessment Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Constitution allow for eligible farmland to be assessed at lower standards.  Specifically, under the Farmland Assessment Act, upon application, the value of land (over 5 acres) that is actively devoted for agricultural/horticultural uses for at least 2 successive years immediately preceding the tax year at issue, is to be assessed at a value for agricultural or horticultural uses. Certain minimal revenue generating requirements pertaining to the sale of agricultural/horticultural products produced on the property must also be shown.  The primary goals of the statute and constitutional amendment are to preserve “family farms” by providing “family” farmers with economic relief and to assist with the preservation of open space.   However, as set forth below, even if a property meets all of the standards of the Farmland Assessment Act, if it is also used for commercial purposes, the benefits of the statute may not apply.


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Appealing Issues In Federal Practice

by:  Peter J. Gallagher

The New Jersey Law Journal published one of my articles this week, Going Through the (Rule 56 and Rule 50) Motions, that discusses the steps litigators must take in order to properly preserve for appeal the arguments they make during trial.  This is an issue that is important to any litigator appearing in federal court, whether on behalf of a real estate client or otherwise, and one that too many litigators ignore until it is too late. 

The article focuses on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Ortiz v. Jordan, a case where the Court considered whether a party is permitted to appeal the denial of a summary judgment motion after a full trial on the merits. The answer to this question was a unanimous no. However, a majority of the Supreme Court went one step further. In addressing an issue that neither of the parties included in their petitions for certiorari, the Supreme Court ruled that, to be preserved for appeal, defenses raised at trial must be renewed through post-trial motions under both Rule 50(a) and Rule 50(b). In making this ruling, the Supreme Court not only resolved a split in the federal courts, but also provided a road map for practitioners to follow if they plan to appeal adverse decisions from the trial court.