Monarch Project wins court battle; must return to Hoboken Planning Board
An uptown review of the Monarch Case from residents close to the legal case:
This afternoon Judge Arre delivered multiple rulings. Attorneys for Hoboken residents Stark & Stark summarized the primary ruling written below in italics:
Judge Arre granted Shipyard’s motion for summary judgment and held that Shipyard has the right to have its application heard before the Hoboken Planning Board. He relied on the case of Toll Brothers, Inc. v Board of Chosen Freeholders for the proposition that a developer’s agreement is not an independent contract, but rather is tethered to the underlying resolution granting approval (that “resolution” is the original 1996 Hoboken Planning Board Resolution Approving the entire Shipyard Complex.). While the facts in “Toll Brothers” are distinguishable from those in our case (in Toll Brothers the developer had drastically reduced the scope of the proposed development and forcing the developer to pay for off tract improvements based on the project’s size before its reduction would be unfair and in violation of land use law), Judge Arre ruled that the principles enunciated in that case are applicable to this matter. Judge Arre read his decision into the record and the written version should be available next week.
Given his primary ruling, his secondary ruling therefore denied the City’s Motion which sought to enforce the Developer’s Agreement (as a contract) and compel Shipyard Associates to build the tennis courts, public parking, etc. as previously promised. This does NOT mean however that the judge ruled or in any way approved the Monarch project.
As the primary ruling notes, he simply ruled that Shipyard Associates has a right to appear before the Hoboken Planning Board and attempt to seek an amendment to their previous plans. There the Planning Board will approve or deny the project on its merits. (If you recall, the Planning Board previously stated they thought Shipyard Associates would first have to have their Developer’s Agreement with the City amended before they could hear Shipyard’s application. The judge said that is not the case and that the Planning Board should hear the case first.) So it is back to the Hoboken Planning Board for Shipyard Associates, where their application will face challenges (and also steadfast opposition from Hoboken residents).
In addition, the Judge made no rulings today regarding Shipyard Associates challenge of the Hudson County Planning Board’s denial of the Monarch project. Any ruling on that matter will be made at a later undetermined date. (Remember, Shipyard Associates ultimately needs three YES decisions if they hope to build; DEP, County and City. Right now they just have the DEP.)