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LONG BRANCH, NJ-Due to the dismal economy, the city has called off its condemnation of 15 beachfront homes it had wanted to replace with luxury condos. The case was expected to measure the scope of a seminal state Supreme Court eminent-domain ruling, reports the New Jersey Law Journal.

When Beachfront North residents challenged the condemnation of their homes, Monmouth County Assignment Judge Lawrence Lawson ruled in 2006 that the plans could proceed.

The next year, the state Supreme Court decided Gallenthin Realty Development Corp. v. Paulsboro, 191 N.J. 344 (2007), holding that property must be declared “blighted,” not just underutilized, before it could be taken for redevelopment.In August 2008, the Appellate Division reversed Lawson’s ruling in the Long Branch case, finding the record “does not contain any substantial evidence to support the city’s findings” that the homes were blighted and it remanded for a plenary hearing on whether the Long Branch properties were blighted.

The city’s lawyer, James Aaron of Ansell, Zaro, Grimm & Aaron in Ocean, says the redevelopment plans fell apart after the Appellate Division ruling because Matzel & Mumford felt the collapse of the real estate market made the Beachfront North project unworkable.

“Timing is everything. For a large project like this to go forward, the timing has to fall in place like dominos,” Aaron says. “If too many delays come into the picture, real estate costs and go up and down, financing can appear and disappear. The political landscape can change either favorably or unfavorably. All these factors have to stay in place for a large project to succeed.” Click here to read the entire NJLJ article..

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