The Blue Violets dispensary in Hoboken is having their planning board approval from last month challenged in a new lawsuit that alleges their application was not only submitted late, but to the wrong governing body.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The 14-page, two-count lawsuit, filed in Hudson County Superior Court earlier today alleges that Blue Violets – which would operate at 628 Washington St. – should not be able to operate within 600 feet of both Hoboken Charter School and All Saints Episcopal School.
Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis Inc., whose registered agent is local resident Elizabeth Urtecho, alleges in the suit that Mile Square City municipal code prohibits cannabis businesses within 600 feet of primary and secondary schools, unless granted condition use from the zoning board of adjustment.
“The Application did not include items required by the City of Hoboken’s ordinances at the time of submission on April 29, 2022, including but not limited to a completed contribution disclosure form, flood plain administrator letter/certification, an executed community host agreement, a certification of real estate taxes, lighting plan, and signage details,” the lawsuit also contends.
“The application submitted did not even identify a licensed attorney to represent Blue Violets. Upon information and belief, some of the items referenced in the preceding paragraph were submitted on May 10, 2022.”
While a planning board subcommittee ruled the application incomplete on May 10th and then again on June 14th, they deemed the project was able to go forward on July 7th, despite letter from Urtecho, as well as Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher and Jen Giattino, challenging the timeliness of the application.
At the time, as well as in the lawsuit, it was noted that Hoboken’s “common sense” cannabis regulations had taken effect before their application was submitted and there was no land use law to suggest Blue Violets should be grandfathered in.
The entire planning board then approved the application on September 15th, despite a group of vocal opposition.
“When members of the public sought to question Blue Violet’s witnesses about the proximity of the Property to the All Saints Episcopal School and the Hoboken Charter School, and the fact that the Application violated one of the conditions of the conditional use as set forth in the Ordinance, Blue Violets’ attorney repeatedly objected and the Board ruled these questions were irrelevant based upon the Time of Application Rule,” the suit says.
“Eventually, the Board requested advice from its attorney, given that there was a question about whether the Application was complete prior to the effective date of the Ordinance. The Board was advised as follows: ‘[F]or the Board’s edification, substantial compliance with the submission requirements is enough.'”
Blue Violets, which received approval from the city’s cannabis review board on April 18th, argued that their application was submitted to the CRB on February 18th, though the court filing contends that the board is not a land use board under state law.
“Even if the prior approval of the Cannabis Review Board is required prior to filing an application for development with the Board, this is a submission requirement, not part of an application for development,” the lawsuit argues.
The board then memorialized their approval of the application on October 13th, about three weeks after the city council made it the first dispensary to receive full municipal approval.
The first count of the suit alleges approval void for lack of jurisdiction, while count two seeks approval void Because the board interfered with the public’s right to cross-examine witnesses – a violation of the municipal land use law.
As a result, the suit seeks to invalidate planning board approval, as well as award costs of suit, attorney’s fees and any other relief the court deems just and equitable.
A city spokeswoman did not return an email seeking comment, though the city typically does not comment on pending litigation.
What’s up with that, Jim Doyle? Remember when you were part of a good government team? Now you’ve been reduced to a token rubber stamp for Ravi’s Weed Outlets.
Go easy on Jim Doyle, please. I actually happen to believe there’s an ounce of good faith left in him.
Will let you know how I feel in a few weeks tho…
I’ve heard enough. Doyle is a sellout. He sold Hoboken out!
I, too, had faith in Jim Doyle, but am disappointed in his support of the Blue Violets dispensary.
He supports it? That’s good to hear cause he’s lying about the Story disp that wants to go into the Hudson Tavern space. He actually said that HT was a restaurant that sold alcohol. It was called Hudson TAVERN cause it was a bar. Amanda’s is a restaurant that sells alcohol.
If Doyle supports dispensaries in Hoboken, that’s good. But if Blue Violet is okay, so is the place on 14th and Hudson.
Over 68% of NJ residents voted to legalize. Deal with it, boozers.
Hudson Tavern was an excellent restaurant in Hoboken. It’s a great loss but instead of the promised physical therapy center, Hoboken is bequeathed with a Ravi weed store.
BTW the Hoboken may have voted in general to legalize cannabis but not the implementation and placement of those pot shops.
When asked they told the the City Council to set rules and this store does not meet those standards.
I think most people are disappointed with Jim Doyle but you must remember he didn’t want to run again and Mayor Bhalla pressured him to run when his other candidate took a State job, now he does what Bhalla says to do.