The New Jersey Supreme Court has declined to hear the City of Hoboken’s appeal on the controversial Monarch project, two, 11-story condo towers that would be constructed on the waterfront in the 2nd Ward.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner denied to hear the case on January 29th and the court order was filed on February 2nd, according to documents forwarded to Hudson County View.
The brief four-page filing does not provide a reason why the case won’t be heard by the state’s highest court, though it is rare that they would hear a development case that has already been decided by a lower court.
Back in August, the New Jersey Appellate Court ruled in favor of Shipyard Associates, the developers of the Monarch project, and then-Mayor Dawn Zimmer vowed to continue to fight the ruling.
“We are pleased with the New Jersey Appellate Division’s opinion today to uphold previous court decisions and recognize Shipyard Associates, L.P.’s legitimate rights under zoning law to pursue development of The Monarch project in Hoboken,” Kevin Coakley, a partner at Connell Foley LLP and the attorney for Shipyard Associates, said at the time.
Coakley and a spokesman for Shipyard Associates could not be reached on Tuesday.
City spokesman Juan Melli said little about the court decision, simply stating “the city is reviewing its options” and declined to comment further.
Then a councilman-at-large, Bhalla previously vowed to protect the city’s waterfront from “irresponsible development” if elected mayor.
Bhalla and the majority of the city council opposed NJ Transit purchasing the Union Dry Dock property from New York Waterway last month and the NJ Transit board ultimately decided to pull the measure from their agenda.
Fund for a Better Waterfront Executive Director Ron Hine expressed disappointment with the decision, but also indicated he isn’t surprised.
“This is terrible news for municipalities that depend on land use law principles that protect the decisions of its local boards. The NJ Supreme Court has left standing the flawed rulings by the lower courts,” Hine said in an email.
1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco, a recent mayoral candidate who continues to clash with Bhalla, again took aim at the current and previous administrations.
“This outcome is further proof that the Zimmer-Bhalla administration’s ‘sue first, negotiate later’ philosophy leads only to massive costs for taxpayers in legal fees, not to any kind of positive land use outcome,” DeFusco said in a statement.
“If your goal is to help out campaign contributors that’s fine, but for the rest of us it’s more clear than ever that the only responsible option in these situations is good faith negotiations with all stakeholders. My City Council colleagues and I are hopeful that Mayor Bhalla will agree to change course and enter into a negotiation with the Monarch developer with a goal of relocating the project without negatively impacting another neighborhood, and stop wasting taxpayer money on hopeless legal boondoggles.”
Back in October 2016, the Zimmer administration proposed a settlement that would stop the Monarch project and give the city ownership of the pier in exchange to settle the litigation surround 800 Monroe St.
The city would have also received $500,000 from Shipyard Associates for cleanup and planning purposes.
However, the city council voted against the settlement plan, with several council members expressing frustration that they were not part of the negotiation process.