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Special Improvement Districts (SIDs)

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Edward PurcellEdward Purcell represented the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJLM) and the Institute of Local Government Attorneys (ILGA) as amici curiae (which means “friend of the court”) in a matter entitled Friends of Rahway Business, L.L.C. v. Rahway Municipal Council in which the Appellate Division issued an important decision regarding the ability of Municipalities to create non-contiguous or municipality-wide Special Improvement Districts (SIDs).

Rahway, like approximately 67 other municipalities, has a SID which goes beyond just the traditional downtown area. The touchstone of the case began with a group of citizens who were unhappy with the City’s decision to expand the SID. They argued successfully at the trial level that the SID statute, N.J.S.A. 40:56-65 to -89, limited SIDs to only downtown areas and prohibited municipality-wide or non-contiguous SIDs.

Adopting the arguments of Rahway, NJLM and ILGA, the Appellate Division overturned the trial court decision by focusing on the plain language of the SID statute. While this is an unreported decision, it brings clarity to an issue which could have otherwise undermined the legal status of many municipal SIDs.

CATEGORIES: Municipal Law

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