Category Archives: Ordinances

NJ AG intervenes in Leonia Street Closure Action

Back February, an attorney filed suit against the Borough of Leonia over their scheme to close down roads to non-residents in an effort to avoid congestion during morning and evening rush hours.

It appears that last week, the NJ Attorney General has now also thrown his hat into the case, by filing a complaint for a declaratory judgment and for an action in lieu of prerogative writs.  The complaint appears in full below. Continue reading

Would it be different without RLUIPA?

I’ve written a fair deal about what’s been happening in the Bergen County Eruv Litigation this past year.  I have advocated for municipalities such as Mahwah, USR & Motvale to create appropriate zoning rules that are generally applicable and enforced across the board.  In response, one of the common arguments I hear is that RLUIPA makes it impossible for a town to limit zoning and therefore they move to other measures to limit groups deemed undesirable in a particular area because they prefer different living conditions (e.g. higher density development).

Whether it’s a Church, Synagogue or Mosque — there’s an argument I often see invoked that tax exempt status harms communities when the rest of the town must make up or the loss of tax revenue for the new 501(c)(3) on the block.

Sadly, most people don’t understand how the NJ code handles such types of zoning applications or the pre-RLUIPA landscape that existed in New Jersey for “beneficial uses”. Continue reading

When Teaneck met Lord Chesterton (on reducing bureaucracy)

For several years I’ve been working at revising certain sections of our Township code. One of the sections I’ve focused on, concerns our sign ordinance and specifically, “uniformity”.

Teaneck’s Code Sec. 33-18(c)(5)(e)(6) reads:
Uniformity. Business signs for each occupant in a building with multiple occupancies shall be uniform and compatible in height, placement and design and to the extent possible color and letter font type.

In the back of my mind whenever I ask to remove or alter a statute or ordinance that we have on the books is the parable of Chesterton’s Fence1.  The ordinance was created for a reason, after all.  And unless one understands the history and background, removing it may make you understand that the alternative to bad can sometimes be worse.  This wasn’t something taken lightly. Continue reading

Supporting the unpopular because it’s [a] right.

On Tuesday, May 23rd, the township council is set to pass ordinance 13-2017  (“An Ordinance Regulating Roadway Solicitation by Charitable Organizations”) on second reading.  On its face, it’s a minor ordinance that probably wouldn’t ruffle anyone’s feathers, let alone raise alarm.  But it’s likely an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment and this should not be permitted to pass without inspection.

The issue begins with the state of New Jersey’s statutory ban on solicitation for money in roadways.  The statute has an exemption for towns to permit charitable organizations to collect funds in roadways, if they so desire to enable the exemption.

You can find the State statute (NJSA 39:4-60), here. It says, in relevant part: Continue reading