Hoboken vows to appeal court decision on Monarch development

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HOBOKEN – According to an update from the city, Hoboken will appeal the Oct. 17 decision of the Hudson County Superior Court which ruled the city’s flood control ordinance did not apply to the proposed Monarch development.
The developers of the project want to build two 11-story towers near Sinatra Drive and Shipyard Lane, with 78 residential units. The city, the Fund for a Better Waterfront, and the Tea Building Condo Association are involved in litigation to hold the development to a 1997 plan that included three tennis courts and a tennis pavilion on the North Pier.
Chief Judge of the Hudson County Superior Court Peter Bariso said, “Hoboken has provided sufficient support to show the ordinances were likely passed in response to federal and state efforts to prevent future flood damage following Hurricane Sandy.” However, he ruled that the purpose of the state law in question was “to protect landowners and developers from the inequity that occurred when application and approval efforts and expenses were rendered futile by subsequent changes to the ordinance.”
The court determined that the city’s flood safety ordinances could not legally be applied to the developer once the Planning Board’s final approval had been received by the developer.
“In essence, Judge Bariso ruled that the state legislature intended to prioritize the economic interests of property owners and developers over the city’s compelling interest in addressing an important public safety concern,” stated the message from the city. “The city will continue to litigate the matter through the appeals process to the New Jersey Supreme Court, if necessary.”
The city has also sought review by the state Supreme Court of a ruling against the city on separate Monarch-related litigation concerning whether a final Planning Board approval had in fact been automatically granted to the developer.
According to the city the Planning Board did not approve the application and instead rejected it without prejudice due to the pending litigation. That petition requesting review of the ruling has not yet been decided by the Supreme Court. The city has argued that the lower courts did not adequately consider the danger to public safety in granting automatic approval of a project raising public safety concerns, without an actual Planning Board review.
The appeals of the court decisions in these two cases are the only litigation items still pending with respect to the proposed Monarch Development.