New Jersey Supreme Court Reverses Appellate Division’s Decision on Municipal Redevelopment Plan

Joseph P. Kreoll successfully petitioned before the New Jersey Supreme Court and obtained the reversal of the Appellate Division’s decision on a major redevelopment case. The Hackensack City Council had adopted a resolution authorizing the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether certain properties met the criteria of an area in need of redevelopment pursuant to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law. Ultimately, the Planning Board decided that several of the properties within the study area should be designated as areas in need of redevelopment. Two of the affected property owners brought a Prerogative Writ action against the City and the Planning Board. The case was tried in the Law Division, which upheld the redevelopment designation, but this decision was reversed by the Appellate Division.

After granting Certification, the Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division, and agreed with the Planning Board’s designation of an area near the Bergen County Courthouse as being as an “area in need of redevelopment” because of its blighted condition. The majority opinion stated that redevelopment may “not occur at the expense of individual rights,” but “so long as the blight determination is supported by substantial evidence in the record,” the court would uphold the redevelopment designation. The Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that there was substantial evidence in the record to support the redevelopment designation.

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