Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 9, 2018

NJ Appeals Court Upholds Payment by Developer of Fee for Extra Meetings to, among other things, Encourage Board Members to Attend Meetings

This post was authored by Touro Law student Thomas Brown, ’20

When developer needed permits, applications and variances to have a large 2,000+ unit apartment building approved, the zoning board allowed developer to pay a fee for extra meetings since zoning board only met once a month. Plaintiff alleged an appearance of impropriety because the money ($35,000 over 7 years) was distributed to board members directly. The court held that the provision for extra meetings was reasonable because monthly meetings would have been inadequate, especially considering the process still took 7 years. It found that the most relevant statute did not apply, since that statute concerned payments to outside professionals rather than board members. Also, the court emphasizes the small amount–$5,000 a year among several members–and the fact that the payments were intended to encourage board member attendance at the meetings rather than persuade them to vote a particular way.

Bergen Ridge Homeowner’s Association, Inc. v Township of N Bergen Planning Board, 2018 WL 4126406 (NJ Sup. Ct. App. Div. 8/30/2018)

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