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62-64 Main St., LLC v. Mayor and Council of the City of Hackensack

A-0342-09T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2011) (Unpublished)

REDEVELOPMENT; NOTICES — An objector cannot challenge a “blighted” designation on the basis of a municipality’s failure to deliver a hearing notice to a different property owner.

A municipality adopted a resolution requesting that its planning board conduct a preliminary investigation as to whether certain properties should be delineated as being in need of redevelopment. A series of public hearings were held. Hearing notices were sent to the last known owner of each parcel of property within the area. However, the notices to one particular property owner were misdirected and never received. That property owner’s attorney attended all hearings on behalf of his client, except for one for which she had not received actual notice.

An objector, whose property was deemed in need of redevelopment, claimed “defective notice” by the planning board even though the objector was not affected by the alleged “defective notice.” The Court noted that the adequacy of notice focuses on the reasonableness of the chosen means, not whether the affected persons actually received notice. The Court could not point to any reported decision in which municipal action was deemed void because constitutionally sufficient notice, properly designed to reach all interested parties, failed to reach a party affected by the municipal action – let alone a party who, ultimately, was not so affected. Thus, the Court found the objector could not challenge the “blighted” designation on the basis of the board’s failure to deliver a hearing notice to a different property owner.

The objector also claimed that an Open Public Meeting Act violation by the mayor and council should result in the adopted ordinance being declared null and void. The Court disagreed, noting that state law permits a public body to take corrective or remedial action by acting de novo at a public meeting held in conformity with the Act.

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