Historic Paulus Hook Association v. The Zoning Board Of Adjustment For The City Of Jersey City and Abdel H. Amin And Badria M. Elatar

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division No. A-4001-08T2. Decided February 16, 2010 (unpublished)

This New Jersey appeal raised the question of whether a permit for a revised scope of construction issued by a municipal Zoning Officer for a property subject to the oversight of Jersey City’s Historic Preservation Commission pursuant to Jersey City Code §§ 345-9 and -30 was properly authorized when the Historic Preservation Officer (HPO) disapproved of the revised scope of work (as well as a question of timeliness of appeal). The court held that the permit was not properly issued without prior HPO approval: “… the Code expressly requires Commission or HPO review before any work on a historic property is permitted:… In this case, when the HPO refused to authorize the plans submitted to him in July 2007, the property owners’ next step should not have been to extract permits from the Zoning Officer… Rather, the owners could have proceeded before the Commission pursuant to Code § 345-30(A)(2)(a)… The very reason a Historic Preservation Commission was first established was to assist various other City agencies in specific areas of which the Commission has expertise…. there is an appeals process in place if an applicant is not satisfied with the Commission’s decision regarding an application…. We find that there is clearly no indication that a dissatisfied applicant can simply go to the Zoning Officer for approval, skirting the appeals process entirely. … If the Zoning Officer had the power to overrule any permit determination by the Commission, there would be no need for an appeals process, or for the expert advisory role of the Commission in general.”

This unpublished decision available at http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a4001-08.opn.html.

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