On appeal from the Motor Vehicle Franchise Committee.
Before Judges Dreier, D'Annunzio and Costello. The opinion of the court was delivered by D'annunzio, J.A.D.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: D'annunzio
The opinion of the court was delivered by
The New A.C. Chevrolet, Inc. (AC) appeals from a final decision of the Motor Vehicle Franchise Committee rendered under "An Act regulating the . . . relocation of motor vehicle franchises" (Act). N.J.S.A. 56:10-16 to 25. The Franchise Committee adopted by inaction the initial decision of Administrative Law Judge Simonelli. See N.J.S.A. 52:14B-10. ALJ Simonelli had determined that respondent DiFeo Chevrolet-Geo (DiFeo) had the right, under N.J.S.A. 56:10-20(a), to relocate its franchise from the intersection of Route 440 and Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City to a location approximately .3 mile south on Route 440 in Jersey City. Accordingly, the ALJ recommended dismissal of AC's protest. We affirm.
N.J.S.A. 56:10-18 (section 18), prohibits the relocation of a franchise if it will be injurious. N.J.S.A. 56:10-23 establishes factors the Franchise Committee must consider in determining whether a relocation will be injurious.
N.J.S.A. 56:10-19 (section 19) requires a franchisor to give notice to its existing franchisees within the relevant market of the franchisor's intent to relocate a franchise. Any franchisee entitled to notice may file a protest with the Franchise Committee.
N.J.S.A. 56:10-20, as originally enacted, provided:
The provisions of sections [18 and 19] of this act notwithstanding, a motor vehicle franchisor may:
a. Permit an existing franchisee to relocate his franchise within 2 miles of the franchisee's existing franchise location; or
b. Reopen or reactivate a franchise or business which has not been in operation for a period of 1 year or less at a site within 2 miles of the prior site.
This section did not limit the number of times a franchisee could relocate as long as the relocation was "within 2 miles of the franchisee's existing franchise location." Ibid.
The Legislature, however, amended N.J.S.A. 56:10-20 (section 20) effective January 18, 1992. It now provides:
The provisions of section 3 and 4 of P.L. 1982, c. 156 (C. 56:10-18 and 56:10-19) notwithstanding, a ...