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Robinhood Plaza, Inc. et al. v. City Council, Jersey City, Unreported, Law Division 2015

The firm’s client is developing 500 Summit Avenue, adjacent to the PATH Station at Journal Square in Jersey City. Litigation commenced on behalf of the client in 2010, alleging unequal and arbitrary mistreatment in rezoning its property. That litigation resulted in a settlement with the City, which called for amendment of the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan. That amendment gives Robinhood Plaza a height allowance, from 25 stories to 42 stories, in exchange for the dedication of some of its property for a public park, and other considerations. The City Council amended the Redevelopment Plan to conform to the changes in zoning but, after a municipal election, refused to implement a final step – vacating a small portion of a public street to conform to the Redevelopment Plan. On a motion to enforce litigant’s rights, the trial judge concluded that the City could not use as a defense that a future governing body cannot be bound by its predecessor when the subject is implementation of a redevelopment plan, and that, in any case, “equitable estoppel” precluded the City from disavowing its contractual commitment to Robinhood Plaza. The court concluded that Robinhood Plaza suffered “manifest injustice” due to the voluntary conduct.