Jennifer Porter is a member in the firm’s Real Estate, Development & Land Use Group. Her ability to practice zoning and land use development law in four states (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut) establishes her as a key player in helping clients expand into the regional real estate market. Jennifer represents clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to developers, owners and lessees of commercial, retail, industrial and residential properties. She represents client in all aspects of land use, zoning and development law.
Jennifer has worked on all types of land use applications, including:
- Site plans
- Special uses/conditional uses
- Use, bulk/area and signage variances
- Rezonings and zoning amendments
- Redevelopment projects
- New build and alteration permits (NYC)
- Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) applications (NYC)
- State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review
Jennifer has appeared before municipal boards and handled numerous projects from post-approval condition compliance and ancillary permitting efforts with local, state and federal agencies. She has extensive experience in:
- Conducting zoning due diligence
- Preparing project timelines and checklists
- Drafting planning and zoning application forms
- Preparing permitting documents
- Drafting resolutions
- Drafting easements and other real property instruments
- Preparing SEQRA and forms and determinations
Jennifer successfully led a team of attorneys through an extensive, multi-state expansion project for a national financial services firm that resulted in the creation of over 85 new banking locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She was also one of the lead attorneys for a major bi-state governmental authority in connection with several major interstate bridge projects and handled the preparation, negotiation and execution of over 20 master utility agreements, as well as multiple design and construction coordination agreements with various state agencies.
Real Estate Development and Land Use
Jennifer has significant experience in zoning, planning, and permitting matters throughout the Northeast region. She efficiently and cost-effectively navigates projects through plan development, filing, and application review and approval. Jennifer regularly appears before and interacts with planning boards, zoning boards of appeal, boards of adjustment, and governing bodies in municipalities throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in connection with zoning and land use matters. She consistently works with some of the most highly respected and best known architects, professional planners, landscape architects, traffic engineers, engineering firms, and environmental consultants in the region.
Zoning and Building Code Violations & Enforcement Actions
Jennifer has substantial experience counseling clients faced with zoning, building code, or other municipal violations. She has appeared in countless municipal and justice courts in connection with zoning and building violations and in other zoning enforcement-type proceedings. Jennifer has a unique perspective on how zoning and building code violations are prosecuted, due to her prior experience as a municipal prosecutor in several municipalities in New York.
Zoning Due Diligence
Jennifer has conducted zoning due diligence for hundreds of sites throughout the tri-state area to determine site feasibility and the regulatory framework for proposed real estate projects. She has assisted clients with everything from zoning district and use analysis, conformance analysis of concept plans, and freedom of information or open public records requests to reviews of prior approvals and preparation of project timelines.
Land Use and Development (Public Sector)
Jennifer has experience on public sector transportation projects throughout the region. She was primarily responsible for the preparation, negotiation, and execution of master utility agreements with more than 20 utility companies in New Jersey and New York governing utility work that was required in connection with one of the interstate bridge projects. On one of these projects, she was also primarily responsible for the preparation, negotiation, and execution of design and construction agreements with various state entities in New Jersey and New York for work to be performed within their jurisdictional boundaries. Jennifer additionally handled the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process for city map amendments required in connection with one of the interstate bridge projects, as well as numerous other aspects of both interstate bridge projects.
State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)
Jennifer has experience with SEQRA compliance for residential and commercial development projects. She has represented developers and municipal entities as land use counsel with respect to the environmental quality review process in the development of multi-family housing projects, banks, restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, convenience stores and other types of uses. Jennifer also assisted with the preparation and review of SEQRA documents including environmental assessment forms, negative declarations, positive declarations, scoping documents, environmental impact statements, and findings statements. She has lectured and authored many articles on SEQRA.
Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP)
Jennifer has represented commercial clients, developers and a major bi-state governmental entity in navigating through New York City’s ULURP. She has counseled clients through each stage of ULURP and has appeared before administrative and polities bodies.
Prior to joining the firm, Jennifer was a Director of Real Property at Gibbons PC. She started her career as an attorney at Keane & Beane, PC, where she represented clients before municipal boards throughout lower New York and the Hudson Valley.
Jennifer earned her J.D. from Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law. During law school, she was a Casenote and Comment Editor for the Pace University Law Review and was Managing Director and Research Fellow at the Pace Land Use Law Center. Jennifer served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Charles L. Brieant, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She also interned at the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic. Jennifer received both her M.A. and B.A. cum laude from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
- Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2001)
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania (M.A.)
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania (B.A., cum laude)
- New Jersey
- New York
- U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- Managed and maintained primary responsibility for the successful development or redevelopment of more than 85 banks for a national banking association in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Her work has included obtaining land use approvals, including site plan, special permit, subdivision, area, and use variances, as well as county and state permits for development of banks with and without drive-through facilities; preparing application materials and witnesses and presenting at meetings and public hearings; maintaining project timelines and master reports that track the development process for each site through the use of a custom extranet reporting system; and preparing zoning due diligence investigations for various sites.
- Involved in a convenience food chain’s expansion into New York State and represented the company in securing development permits and approvals over a multi-year period for 15 projects. Additionally, she handled several development projects for the company in New Jersey. The projects on which Jennifer specifically works include site plan, special permit, subdivision and variances for development of food stores, gasoline stations and car washes. Her responsibilities include preparing application materials and witnesses and attending meetings and public hearings. Jennifer also assists in drafting easements, licenses, and other agreements and satisfying conditions of the approvals.
- Represented a large global fast food company in connection with several hundred restaurant sites, including applications for approvals in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York City and New Jersey. In addition, Jennifer handled every aspect of the approval process, which has included preparing zoning due diligence for various sites throughout upstate New York, Long Island, and New York City and obtaining land use approvals, including site plan, special permit, area variances, and SEQRA determinations for the development of fast food restaurants with and without drive-through facilities.
- Handled the development approval process for an addition to an existing a supermarket chain location in New York and assisted in the development of other supermarkets throughout New Jersey. She has also prepared zoning due diligence in connection with the supermarket chain’s acquisition of existing supermarkets in both New Jersey and New York.
- Assisted in representing Terrain, an affiliate of Urban Outfitters, an upscale garden center with respect to zoning due diligence and land use applications in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Jennifer was the lead attorney in securing development approvals for a second store in in Connecticut.
- New Jersey Super Lawyers - Rising Stars, Real Estate: Land Use/Zoning (2010-2014)
- New York Real Estate Journal, "Women in Real Estate" (2013)
- Essex County Bar Association
- Connecticut State Bar Association, Planning and Zoning Section
- National Women’s Law Center, Former Leadership 35 Committee Member
- New Jersey State Bar Association, Land Use Law Section
- New York State Bar Association, Municipal and Real Property Law Sections
- Pennsylvania State Bar Association, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
- Young Community Development Professionals Association, Former Steering Committee Member