New Jersey Law

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NJ Appellate Court Confirms the Power of the LRHL -Redeveloper Designation Required for Site Plan Review

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In Applied Monroe Lender, LLC v. City of Hoboken Planning Board and City of Hoboken, Docket No. A-3048-15T3 (App. Div. 2019), an unreported decision of the Appellate Division, land use practitioners are reminded of the power of the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law ( “LRHL”), N.J.S.A. 40A:12A et seq. The appellate court confirmed that the Hoboken Planning Board was not required to hear a site plan application for a property in a designated redevelopment area where the applicant had not first obtained a designation as a “Redeveloper” from the city. The lesson from this case is that the LRHL grants New Jersey municipalities strong control of both the process of redevelopment as well and the type of redevelopment in their communities. Developers who ignore, or are ill-advised, on the specifics of the process of redevelopment do so at their peril. The LRHL grants broad powers to municipalities and the courts have repeatedly held that municipal actions under this law should be liberally construed in favor of the municipality.

The plaintiff/applicant in this case sued to have its site plan application deemed complete for failure of the Planning Board to act on the application within 45 days, as required by the Municipal Land Use Law (“MLUL”) N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.3. The Planning Board argued that the site plan application was not complete without the applicant obtaining a designation as Redeveloper from the city, even though the designation was not required on the site plan application check list. The courts agreed with the Planning Board and deferred to the process for redevelopment established by the city under the LRHL. The MLUL provision granting automatic completeness approval was not enough to overcome the failure of the applicant to comply with the city’s established LRHL process.

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