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Newark Wins Fight|Over Notice to Business

(CN) - A commercial tenant is not entitled to the same rights as a property owner in notice requirements of a city redevelopment plan, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled.

Iron Mountain Information Management runs a document storage business in a six-story building in Newark. The company has leased the building since 1996.

In 2004, the city investigated a 24-acre area, which included the Iron Mountain building, to see if it was blighted. The investigator described the structure as an "obsolete building with a marginal economic use."

The City Council agreed with the Planning Board that the area was blighted, and moved forward with a redevelopment plan, which included a sports and entertainment arena.

Iron Mountain sued to overturn the ordinance as arbitrary and capricious, claiming the redevelopment plan was vague and did not conform to statutory requirements.

The city argued that the complaint was untimely, since Iron Mountain filed it after the 45-day deadline to challenge a municipal action.

The trial court ruled for the city, citing no valid reason why Iron Mountain should not have been aware of the blight determination in time to challenge it within 45 days.

Iron Mountain protested that as a tenant it was not personally notified of the planning board's hearing or decision. Judge Baxter ruled that Iron Mountain was not entitled to such notice.

"Plaintiff was not the owner of the property and was not named on the city's tax assessment record," Baxter wrote. "Therefore, plaintiff was not entitled by statute to personal notice of the planning board's hearing.

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