WAYNE — A choose determined this 7 days that the unique master assigned to the township’s cost-effective-housing situation does not have a conflict of fascination for possessing worked together with its legal professional on an unrelated issue.
At challenge was no matter if Christine Nazzaro-Cofone, the distinctive master, must be recused from participation in the case owing to her involvement as an professional witness in a Planning Board proposal in Edgewater.
The lawyer for the developer in that application, Brian Chewcaskie, is 1 of the housing attorneys for Wayne.
State Excellent Courtroom Decide Thomas Brogan made the decision that the operating connection amongst Chewcaskie and Nazzaro-Cofone was too “discreet” to warrant her recusal. It “does not rise to the amount” of an “overall look of impropriety,” he stated through a Zoom listening to.
Brogan’s ruling, rendered Tuesday from his Paterson bench, proficiently denied a motion to bar Nazzaro-Cofone from the ongoing circumstance.
Nazzaro-Cofone, who owns a land-use consulting business in the borough of Red Financial institution, was appointed by the court to be the unique master in the township’s case in November 2015 — four months following it commenced.
In that role, she serves as a negotiator amongst the township and possible builders.
The motion to bar Nazzaro-Cofone was created by the proprietor of 1655 Valley Street, which entered the circumstance soon after officials were stripped of immunity from builder’s cure lawsuits in November 2020. The residence has a 156,941-sq.-foot business setting up that is typically vacant.
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Her involvement in the Edgewater matter started previous spring and continued into the fall, according to Jeffrey Kantowitz, an lawyer for the Valley Street residence owner.
Kantowitz experimented with to persuade the decide that Nazzaro-Cofone’s months-extensive connection to the Edgewater matter and simultaneous affiliation with the regional scenario was grounds for recusal. “That’s where the rub is,” Kantowitz stated. “That is precisely where the rub is. This was not a filed software on May well 15, with a decision in June for a backyard variance.”
The Edgewater undertaking, to consist of three 25-story towers and 20,000 square ft of retail place on land formerly utilized as an oil terminal by Hess Corp., was accredited in January.
Tale proceeds down below map.
Matthew Cavaliere, an legal professional, opposed the movement on behalf of the township. He explained the courtroom ought to think about that the circle of attorneys and planners who manage economical housing is “pretty small.”
“Sooner or afterwards, if you do this extensive more than enough,” Cavaliere claimed, “you get the job done with everybody.”
Due to the fact the motion quickly sidetracked the situation, Brogan prolonged the deadline for the township and Valley Street property owner to come up with a offer for redevelopment of the 11-acre web page.
Philip DeVencentis is a community reporter for NorthJersey.com. For endless entry to the most significant news from your community group, be sure to subscribe or activate your electronic account now.
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This write-up originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Wayne NJ housing: Court docket master cleared of alleged conflict of desire