Case Is Closed: Bid Is Lost to Appeal Downtown Suit
Concerned Citizens, the group opposed to the Borough's $13.7 million downtown redevelopment project, has lost its bid to reopen its legal case against the municipality.
Last Friday, Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg found no basis to the group's claim that there is new evidence to reverse her March 2003 ruling in favor of the Borough.
Concerned Citizens was first formed in opposition to the downtown redevelopment project, declaring that Borough Council had moved forward with the project despite clear opposition from many Borough residents.
According to Herb Hobler, Concerned Citizens treasurer, a letter he received from Mayor Joe O'Neill, dated August 26, acknowledged that, "Borough Council has misused the 'Blighted Areas Act' to avoid compliance with public bidding laws," he said, adding that Council also overlooked certain "statutory limitations" in order to move forward with the plan to construct the Spring Street garage, a five-story mixed use building and plaza, and a five-story apartment building with a first floor convenience store.
Mayor O'Neill disagreed with the accusation, referring to the paragraph in his letter where he stated that Council resorted to invoking the Local Redevelopment Act to get the garage done with an experienced partner, but did not admit to performing an illegal act by doing so.
The two-year court battle was lost at the Mercer County Superior Court level in June, when the court determined that the Borough did not misuse or misinterpret the Local Redevelopment Act. Two weeks ago a unanimous decision by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court dismissed the complaint.
Friday's motion for reconsideration was denied by Judge Feinberg, effectively ending the lawsuit.