After more than two decades of focusing my practice on real estate development, I’m still excited by the prospect of figuring out how to overcome objections from the public or resistance from the board and making a case that will hold up in court.  I continue to enjoy the challenge, and I’m totally invested in my clients’ projects and successes.

Ms. Gonchar's practice encompasses all aspects of land use, zoning and related litigation.  She represents property owners and developers in appearances before planning and zoning boards throughout the state, in connection with obtaining land use approvals and permits for residential, retail, office, industrial and mixed use projects. She also represents clients in land use, condemnation and related litigation before the Superior Court of New Jersey, including prerogative writ litigation. Ms. Gonchar’s diversified experience enables her to provide clients with continuity throughout the often long and complicated land development process. She assists clients throughout the entire life cycle of a development project; due diligence, acquisition, approvals and permitting, financing, leasing and/or sale.   

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL)
  • Listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (a publication of Chambers and Partners) in the Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use practice area (2005 – present)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© (a trademark of Woodward/White, Inc.) in the Real Estate, Land Use & Zoning Law, Litigation: Real Estate and Litigation: Land Use & Zoning practice areas (2007 – present)
  • Selected by Best Lawyers® (a trademark of Woodward/White, Inc.) as 2016 Woodbridge "Lawyer of the Year" in Land Use and Zoning Law; as 2015 Newark "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation: Land Use and Zoning
  • Listed in New Jersey Super Lawyers (a Thompson Reuters business) in the Real Estate category (2008 – present); listed by Super Lawyers as one of New Jersey’s Top 100 Lawyers (2014); as one of New Jersey's Top 50 Women Lawyers (2010 – 2016)
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent (a trademark of Internet Brands, Inc.) (2004 – present)
  • Recipient of the Chairman's Award from the New Jersey Builders Association for her exemplary service on the NJBA's Legislative Affairs Committee (2015)
  • Recipient of the NAIOP NJ Pillar Award in recognition of her involvement in that organization (2013)
  • Recipient of the Women’s Initiatives Award from Garden State Woman in recognition of her commitment to the firm’s Women’s Leadership Forum (2011)
  • Recipient of the Middlesex County Bar Association Transactional (Non-Litigation) Attorney Practice Award for excellence in the profession (2010)
  • Recognized by Real Estate Forum magazine (an ALM publication) on its list of Women of Influence (2010). The complete article can be viewed here.
  • Listed by Real Estate New Jersey magazine as one of its Women of Influence (2009)
  • Recognized as one of the Top 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ (a publication of Journal Multimedia) (2008)

A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolades are based can be found HERE. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained preliminary major site plan approval and use variance for a six-story mixed-use building comprised of five stories of residential units over a first floor containing commercial space in Hoboken.  The project was approved for 44 residential units, 44 parking spaces and commercial use for to be occupied by a local theater company for studio and children’s theater space as well as a small retail area.  The building will be developed to achieve LEED Platinum accreditation using the LEED for Homes Mid-rise Program
  • Obtained preliminary and final major site plan approval together with a use and bulk variances to permit modifications to an existing vacant industrial building in Hoboken to permit the building to be used for retail, commercial recreational , and commercial/office uses.  The proposed commercial recreational use is a three-story rock climbing gym facility and retail and office are proposed for other portions of the building
  • As part of a leading real estate industry association's acquisition of a parcel of property in southern NJ, to be used as the group's new headquarters, handled an application for preliminary and final site plan approval and variance relief to construct a mixed-use structure in a designated municipal redevelopment area.  The project comprises a 20,850 square foot three-story building with leasable commercial space on the ground floor and offices on the second and third floors. Approval was obtained in March 2015
  • Obtained preliminary and final site plan approval for a mixed use commercial and residential project in Atlantic Highlands, to be comprised of 18 residential units and commercial space
  • Obtained preliminary and final site plan approval and "d" height variance for a new football stadium to be built on the campus of a leading New Jersey university

Uniquely NJ

  • Appointed to founding Advisory Board of the Center for Real Estate at Rutgers Business School
  • Trustee, NAIOP New Jersey Chapter: member, Programs & Education Committee; member, Legal Committee; former Vice President, Associates Affairs; past member, Board of Directors
  • Board of Directors, New Jersey Builders Association: Chair, Master Sponsor Program; member, Legislative Committee
  • Member, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW Network): Past President, CREW-NJ Chapter (1998); former chapter delegate to national CREW Network
  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association: Past Chair and Emeritus member of Board of Trustees, Land Use Law Section; former member of Board of Trustees, Women in the Profession Section; Member, Legislative Committee
  • Member, Urban Land Institute Northern New Jersey Chapter
  • Member, Middlesex County Bar Association; Board of Trustees
  • Member, Executive Women of New Jersey; former member, Board of Directors
  • Member, Monmouth University Kislak Real Estate Institute Program Advisory Committee; Leadership Excellence Award Dinner Planning Committee
  • Board of Trustees, Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County; former President of Women's Philanthropy
  • Vice President, New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations
  • Former member of Board of Directors, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick
View Expanded Bio

More Activities & Experience

  • Member, International Council of Shopping Centers
  • Member, American Bar Association; Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law; Section of State and Local Government Law

Academic Appointments

  • Instructor for Real Estate Law course at Monmouth University Kislak Real Estate Institute

Presentations & Speaking Engagements

Publications & Alerts

View Abbreviated Bio


Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, J.D., 1981

Rutgers College, B.A. cum laude, 1978 

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1981

Meryl A.G. Gonchar Top Ranked in Chambers USA 2016 Meryl A.G. Gonchar Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated AV Preeminent Meryl A.G. Gonchar Listed in Best Lawyers Meryl A.G. Gonchar Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year 2017 Meryl A.G. Gonchar Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year 2016 Meryl A.G. Gonchar Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year 2015

A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolades are based can be found HERE. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.