Represented by Arnold C. Lakind, JAT received a use variance from the City of Trenton Board of Adjustment to construct and operate a restaurant with a drive thru lane on property adjoining the Sovereign Bank Arena. The property was located in the City designated Roebling Complex Redevelopment Area. The Roebling Complex Redevelopment Plan permitted restaurants but prohibited restaurants with drive thru lanes, such as our client’s Taco Bell.
The City of Trenton Board of Adjustment granted approval of the variance to allow a drive thru lane, and the City Council affirmed. Seven local organizations, joined by an individual plaintiff, appealed, first to the Law Division and then to the Appellate Division, arguing, among other things, that a land use board could not grant a variance from the provisions of a redevelopment plan. The Law Division affirmed the grant of the variance and plaintiffs then appealed to the Appellate Division. The Appellate Court issued an opinion, Frank Weeden, Trenton Historical Society, et al. v. City Council of the City of Trenton, JAT Properties,LLC., affirming the decision of the Law Division in all respects. In a decision of first impression, the Court held that a Board of Adjustment could grant a variance from a local redevelopment plan. In addition, the Court found that the record before the Trenton Board of Adjustment contained ample evidence to warrant grant of the variance. (2007)