WAYNE — A judge decided this 7 days that the particular master assigned to the township’s reasonably priced-housing scenario does not have a conflict of interest for having worked together with its lawyer on an unrelated subject.
At issue was no matter if Christine Nazzaro-Cofone, the exclusive master, need to be recused from participation in the case owing to her involvement as an professional witness in a Preparing Board proposal in Edgewater.
The law firm for the developer in that application, Brian Chewcaskie, is one of the housing lawyers for Wayne.
State Exceptional Courtroom Choose Thomas Brogan decided that the doing work partnership among Chewcaskie and Nazzaro-Cofone was way too “discreet” to warrant her recusal. It “does not increase to the degree” of an “physical appearance of impropriety,” he explained in the course of a Zoom hearing.
Brogan’s ruling, rendered Tuesday from his Paterson bench, properly denied a motion to bar Nazzaro-Cofone from the ongoing scenario.
Nazzaro-Cofone, who owns a land-use consulting corporation in the borough of Pink Lender, was appointed by the court docket to be the specific master in the township’s scenario in November 2015 — 4 months after it begun.
In that position, she serves as a negotiator amongst the township and likely builders.
The movement to bar Nazzaro-Cofone was built by the operator of 1655 Valley Road, which entered the scenario soon after officers were being stripped of immunity from builder’s cure lawsuits in November 2020. The assets has a 156,941-sq.-foot workplace making that is primarily empty.
Her involvement in the Edgewater issue started final spring and continued into the tumble, in accordance to Jeffrey Kantowitz, an lawyer for the Valley Street house owner.
Kantowitz experimented with to persuade the decide that Nazzaro-Cofone’s months-long link to the Edgewater matter and simultaneous affiliation with the neighborhood situation was grounds for recusal. “That is in which the rub is,” Kantowitz mentioned. “That’s exactly where by the rub is. This wasn’t a filed software on Might 15, with a choice in June for a yard variance.”
The Edgewater project, to include 3 25-tale towers and 20,000 sq. ft of retail area on land formerly utilized as an oil terminal by Hess Corp., was authorised in January.
Tale continues down below map.
Matthew Cavaliere, an attorney, opposed the motion on behalf of the township. He said the court ought to take into account that the circle of attorneys and planners who take care of inexpensive housing is “incredibly compact.”
“Quicker or later on, if you do this long adequate,” Cavaliere stated, “you operate with anyone.”
Since the movement briefly sidetracked the scenario, Brogan prolonged the deadline for the township and Valley Highway home proprietor to appear up with a offer for redevelopment of the 11-acre web page.
Philip DeVencentis is a area reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most vital information from your local local community, remember to subscribe or activate your digital account currently.
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This short article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Wayne NJ housing: Courtroom grasp cleared of alleged conflict of curiosity