After almost three years of litigation, good news for two property owners arrived in yesterday's mail. Bloomfield's redevelopment counsel, Catherine Tamasik, informed us that Al Lardieri's building at 622 Bloomfield Avenue and Lewis Santus' building at 77-79 Washington Street will not be acquired as part of the "Parcel 2" Redevelopment Project for Bloomfield Center by the township and their designated redeveloper, Forest City. This is a great victory for the property owners and a tribute to their perserverance.
But the legal battle is not over. Other plaintiffs in the Lardieri et al v. Bloomfield Township lawsuit remain at risk, and they will pursue a prerogative writ case to overturn the blight designation of their properties. The township has requested an additional 30 days to file their answer, and the case has been assigned for trial to Essex County Assignment Judge Patricia Costello. Judge Costello issued an opinion in 110 Washington Street v. Township of Bloomfield. This decision has been upheld unanimously by the Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on November 17, 2006.
In order for the property owners to be assured that their properties will not be acquired for redevelopment, it will be necessary for the mayor and council to adopt a resolution de-designating these properties as "in need of redevelopment" and removing them from the plan.
New Jersey Eminent Domain Blog: http://www.njeminentdomain.com