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Price v. Rocha

August 1, 2008

LARRY PRICE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JOSE ROCHA AND UNION CITY ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Docket No. L-5829-06.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued June 24, 2008

Before Judges Cuff and Fuentes.

Plaintiff Larry Price appeals from the order of the Law Division dismissing his action in lieu of prerogative writs.

Plaintiff challenged the decision of defendant, the Union City Zoning Board of Adjustment ("Board"), granting defendant Jose Rocha's application to construct a high rise building at the corner of 7th Street and New York Avenue in Union City. We reverse.

The current proposal is the second development application that Rocha has presented for this site. The property is located in Union City's R Zone. The principal residential uses allowed by right in the R Zone are "one, two, and four family dwellings" and row houses for one family use. Conditional residential uses for this zone are "public housing developments for senior citizens" and "limited multi-family developments."

Rocha presented his first application to the Board on February 10, 2005. He sought variances for the construction of an eighteen-story high-rise apartment building, containing eighty-four two-bedroom units and a 101-space enclosed parking garage. Price was at the hearing and objected. The Board granted the application along with the corresponding variances.

Price filed an action in lieu of prerogative writs challenging the approval. By order dated February 14, 2006, the trial court reversed the Board's decision granting the variances and declared the resolution memorializing that decision null and void. In so doing, the trial court gave the following description of the nature and scope of the proposed project:

(1) The assembled lots that comprised the application contained 10,000 sq. ft., but the minimum sized lot for the proposed project was 20,000 sq. ft. Thus, a C-type variance was needed for lot area.

(2) High-rise dwelling unit density was 110 units per acre and the application contemplated 366.18 units per acre, requiring a D-type variance.

(3) Building coverage permitted was 40% in the zone, but the application contemplated 90.25%, requiring a C-type variance.

(4) Set back requirements were 10 feet, but the application provided no set back so as to maximize ...


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