New Jersey Land Use Lawyers

Kates Nussman Rapone Ellis & Farhi, LLP represents municipal governing bodies and land use boards, in a wide range of legal issues including municipal and regional zoning and planning, redevelopment, condemnation, zoning and planning. The law firm also represents developers, property owners and environmental groups in the same fields, as well neighbors in opposition to deleterious development. Mr. Kates and the law firm have a state-wide reputation in the fields of municipal law and land use law. As such, the Firm serves as special counsel to municipalities in Bergen, Hudson and Essex Counties, and litigates through the state of New Jersey.

General Counsel to Municipal Government Bodies

Michael Kates sits on the prestigious Technical Review Committee of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, which authored the Municipal Land Use Law and is advisory to New Jersey Legislature. He is also a contributor to the definitive text on the subject, New Jersey zoning and Land Use Administration by Cox & Koenig, and he is an adjunct professor of Rutgers University, Center for Government Services. In 2003, he became General Counsel to New Jersey Planning Officials, a State-wide organization of municipalities, planning and zoning boards, and land use practitioners, primarily engaged in educational programs for members of land use agencies. Today he is General Counsel Emeritus.

Mr. Kates served as Corporation Counsel for the City of Hoboken in 2010, Municipal Attorney for the Borough of Fair Lawn in 2006, and presently serves as Zoning Board attorney in Alpine, and Planning Board attorney in the Borough of Englewood Cliffs and City of Englewood.

Special Litigation: Development and Condemnation

The Firm is special litigation counsel for the Township of Millburn in defense of its zoning of houses of worship; and has served as special litigation counsel for the Borough of Oradell in defense of its denial of a use variance that would have allowed a pharmacy to overbuild by extending into a residential zone. The Firm also represented and the arts community in the Powerhouse Arts District of Jersey City, in their efforts to stop a developer-initiated high rise overlay of historic warehouses. We represented Skylands C.L.E.A.N., a Passaic County, non-profit environmental group, committed to protecting the Highlands region of New Jersey from overdevelopment in environmentally sensitive areas surrounding a watershed supplying drinking water throughout northern New Jersey.

We have prevailed on behalf of clients in two high-profile "eminent domain" cases. In one, we represented mobile home owners in Lodi, New Jersey whose properties were targeted for extinction in the name of redevelopment. The trial court sided with our clients (the homeowners). In the other case, the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority withdrew its condemnation action against a tavern owner whose property was intended to be taken to extend the football field of an adjoining parochial school. The law firm joined with the New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union, successfully arguing that the potential taking was not a valid public use and violated church-state constitutional prohibitions.

Contact Michael B. Kates, at 201-488-7200; or to schedule an initial consultation fill out our simple contact form today.