Nothing happens in real estate development or redevelopment without the intervention of a land use lawyer. With respected experience and commitment to its clients, the Land Use Practice Group, which is part of the firm's Real Estate Department, provides timely, efficient, sophisticated advice on transactions involving the use of land. We are engaged on behalf of our state’s large and small developers and property owners before local planning and zoning boards, regional boards and agencies throughout New Jersey and across a broad spectrum of development projects. We are a recognized leader in zoning, Mt. Laurel and other forms of land use litigation.
Along with other members of the Real Estate Department, we have the ability to represent a client's interests from due diligence investigation and property acquisition, through approvals and permitting, registration of planned development, leasing or end sales of commercial or residential properties. The breadth of expertise in the practice group and department allows for efficiency in representation with a project moving through its various stages without loss of time or increased cost. The Group also has substantial experience with both trial work and appellate advocacy. It is in the forefront of new fields of law, such as those involving application of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan and Highlands.
As a result of our transactional and litigation work, we have won recognition throughout New Jersey and the nation. Our Land Use Practice Group attorneys have served landowners, developers, and municipal governments with distinction before state and federal courts, numerous local and county governments, and all the key state agencies that rule on development applications.
We are advocates for our clients in an area of the law that has become more adversarial and complex resulting in increased costs and time. Our attorneys are committed to achieving our clients’ goals obtaining approvals and permits, resolving disputes and addressing the hundreds of details necessary to “get in the ground”. We have a great track record in court and before boards - the significance of that record is significant because our success is our clients’ success. We keep our clients building.
The land use activities of the Group also encompass a substantial commitment to the redevelopment field. As our cities revive, Greenbaum Rowe attorneys are there to assist. Our practice extends from suburban and exurban areas throughout the state to the most intensely developed urban settings.
Innovation has been a hallmark of Greenbaum Rowe's Land Use Practice Group. Staffed by a substantial complement of partners and associates, we have pioneered innovative approaches to urban growth such as special improvement districts. The Group has been instrumental in causing the Department of Environmental Protection to take a new sector-wide approach to the regulation of development in the Coastal Zone. We have been consulted by organizations as diverse as the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Builders Association regarding growth management issues.
The Land Use Practice Group honors and activities also include the following:
- A number of Land Use practitioners have been elected as members in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers;
- Two partners have previously served as chair of the Land Use Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association;
- Ms. Gonchar, chair of the Land Use Practice Group, is the co-author of “Zoning and Land Use Litigation,” Chapter 12 in Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., New Jersey Land Use and Environmental Law, 1993;
- Partners are often lecturers before the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), the American Bar Association, New Jersey Future, the League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Builders Association.
- Represented a property owner at a condemnation hearing to establish the value of thirty acres of land used as a recycling facility.
Challenging unreasonable zoning ordinances
- Invalidated ordinances that rezoned commercial properties to prevent development of shopping centers and big-box retailers.
- Invalidated ordinances that rezoned residential property in violation of procedural requirements.
- Invalidated ordinances that imposed unreasonable restrictions to prevent retail development.
Appealing invalid decisions of local zoning and planning boards
- Reversed board decisions that denied our clients’ applications for site plan and subdivision approval.
- Overturned board decisions that imposed unreasonable conditions in approvals and required unreasonable financial contributions.
Defending local approvals from attack by neighboring property owners or competitors
- Successfully defended approvals for dormitories and recreational facilities for a local university that were challenged by neighboring property owners.
- Successfully defended approvals for residential developments that were challenged by citizens groups.
- Successfully defended approvals for commercial developments that were challenged by competitors.
Representing trade associations to protect development of commercial properties
- Acted as amicus curiae to challenge ordinance appointing local public advocate and creating additional procedural burdens in development applications.
- Challenging the authority of municipalities to pursue condemnation proceedings that were instituted to prevent approved residential developments.
- Commencing builders remedy litigation to provide residential developments with affordable housing.