Another LDG Appellate Division Win

Heine v. City of Paterson, 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2094 (App. Div. Aug. 26, 2014).  This per curiam opinion, issued today by Judges Nugent amd Carroll, affirms a decision of the Law Division, essentially on the opinion below.  The Law Division held that a municipal ordinance that rezoned certain property from I-2 Heavy Industrial to MU Mixed Use was valid, and that plaintiff had not overcome the presumption of validity to which municipal ordinances are entitled.  Victor Afanador and Michael Goldman of my firm, Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC, represented the City.

Plaintiff had argued that the ordinance was invalid because the City had not performed a traffic study before adopting it.  She also contended that the ordinance amounted to “spot zoning.”  Both contentions failed.  The report of an expert planner for the City “opined that the zoning amendment would not adversely impact traffic in the area,” and plaintiff offered no expert evidence to refute that.  There was no spot zoning here either, since “the Ordinance simply extended the Mixed Use zone that already lay adjacent to [the rezoned lots].  Moreover, plaintiff conceded at oral argument in the Law Division that the affected area ‘predominantly has a lot of mixed use … right now.'”   

Plaintiff argued this case pro se.  However, she is an experienced litigant who has won at least one other appeal against a municipality that she argued pro se.