The New Jersey Appellate Court recently reversed a controversial parking lot variance approval by the Newark Zoning Board. For nearly five years, community members and organizations have argued that the proposed variance for the parking lot, constructed in the Ironbound neighborhood in 2012, would have a devastating impact on the fabric of the mixed use nature of the community. EELC filed a friend of the court “amici” brief on behalf of the Ironbound Community Corporation, the Greater Newark Conservancy, and several urban planning and architectural academics contending that surface parking lots, such as this one on McWhorter Street, “inhibit walkability, facilitate street crime, have detrimental environmental impacts, and decrease land value.”
The win, says Aaron Kleinbaum, Executive Director of EELC, “is a victory for the Ironbound neighborhood and all of Newark.”
Madeline Ruiz of Newark’s Studio for Urban Architecture & Design remarks that this case shows that “in the end, right always wins!”
In reviewing the case, the Appellate Court found that the defendant developer did not provide evidence of the criteria necessary to secure a use variance, and that the Zoning Board’s resolution was not legally satisfactory. The developer has since filed a petition for review with the New Jersey Supreme Court.