On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Docket No. L-1647-06.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sapp-peterson, J.A.D.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Axelrad, Sapp-Peterson and Messano.
In this appeal, we revisit our decision in Haggerty v. Red Bank Borough Zoning Bd. of Adjust., 385 N.J. Super. 501 (App. Div. 2006), to determine whether Lauren Nicosia, a member of defendant, Red Bank Zoning Board of Adjustment (Zoning Board), should have recused herself from participating in the variance application of defendant, MW Red Bank, LLC (MW). Judge Alexander Lehrer ruled that Nicosia did not have a disqualifying interest in the matter and that our decision in Haggerty, supra, was distinguishable, despite the fact that plaintiff advanced the same disqualifying interest on the part of Nicosia as was raised in Haggerty, supra. We agree and affirm.
Plaintiff, William E. Meyer, is an attorney and resident of Red Bank. Plaintiff was also the attorney of record who successfully challenged Nicosia's participation in the variance application that was the subject of the Haggerty decision.
MW is a limited liability corporation. Its ownership consists of two entities: Woodmont at Red Bank, LLC and Blaisdell Lumber, LLC (Blaisdell). Woodmont at Red Bank is owned by Eric Witmondt and Michael Witmondt, while Blaisdell is jointly owned by Christopher Cole (Cole), Merrit Sher and Ronald Sher (Shers). Cole and the Shers also jointly own Terranomics and The Grove at Shrewsbury, LLC (Grove). The structure of MW is best illustrated as follows:
Woodmont at Red Bank, LLC
The Grove at MW purchased a 1.8-acre parcel located on Bridge Avenue and West Front Street. On April 4, 2005, MW, as a contract purchaser, filed a development application with the Zoning Board. MW sought permission to [demolish] the existing storage buildings, the existing antique shops, the former lumber/hardware depot, and the associated parking facility; and [construct] a Mixed Use Development, consisting of (a) not to exceed 110 mid-rise residential apartment units; (b) 13,235 sq. ft. first floor retail space; (c) a 14,486 sq. ft. Brew Pub; and (d) a[n] 86,777 sq. ft. vertical parking garage, containing 264 stalls.
Because its application required variances, MW chose to bifurcate the variance application from ...