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Infinity Broadcasting Corporation v. New Jersey Meadowlands Commission

377 N.J. Super. 209, 872 A.2d 125 (App. Div. 2005)

MEADOWLANDS COMMISSION; LAND USE — Resolutions of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission that adopt amendments to redevelopment agreements must be appealed directly to the Law Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (Commission) is a political subdivision of the state of New Jersey which was created to regulate land use in the Hackensack Meadowlands District. The Commission entered into an agreement with a development company to redevelop land within the district by building a golf course and related amenities such as hotels, apartments, and townhouses. The Commission then created a redevelopment plan based on this agreement, which it later adopted. The Commission held a public meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the agreement. Two companies that operated a radio station within the district were present at the meeting. The companies opposed the buildings that were to be constructed pursuant to the redevelopment plan. The proposed amendments to the plan permitted residential buildings with a height up to twenty-five feet. The radio stations objected to the amendments because the height of the buildings would interfere with their signals and prevent them from operating. Despite these objections, the Commission adopted the amendments to the redevelopment plan. The companies appealed the Commission’s actions directly to the Appellate Division, asserting that the Commission had violated their administrative due process rights. They also asserted that the Commission had violated land use and takings-clause principles.

The Appellate Division ruled in favor of the Commission. In reaching its conclusion, it discussed the standard of review for decisions by the Commission. It held that public hearings held by the Commission regarding amendments to redevelopment agreements are quasi-legislative proceedings. These proceedings should be reviewed by a court to determine whether the Commission’s actions were arbitrary, capricious, contrary to law or unconstitutional. It found that with respect to quasi-legislative proceedings, due process requires that notice of the meeting be published and that a public meeting be held. The Court held that the Commission satisfied due process requirements by publishing notice of the meeting and holding a public meeting regarding the proposed amendments. It further satisfied these requirements by providing the companies with adequate information regarding the proposed amendments and allowing the companies to state their objections and comments during the public meeting. As a result, it concluded that the companies had received all of the due process that they were due. It further held that it was inappropriate for the companies to appeal the Commission’s action directly to the Appellate Division and that they should have filed an action in lieu of prerogative writs with the Law Division instead. Accordingly, it dismissed the companies actions without prejudice.

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