This Article examines the significance of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Gallenthin Realty Development, Inc. v. Paulsboro for redevelopment and property rights in New Jersey. It suggests that Gallenthin has resulted in the revival of meaningful judicial review of municipal redevelopment designations. Specifically, the Authors contend that Gallenthin confronted two pervasive problems concerning judicial review of redevelopment designations. First, since 1947, when New Jersey adopted a constitutional provision that specifically authorized the legislature to pass laws permitting the taking of property for redevelopment of “blighted areas,” courts have unduly acquiesced to legislative and municipal interpretations of “blight.” Gallenthin addressed this trend by reaffirming that the judiciary is responsible for ensuring that only “blighted areas” are subject to redevelopment. Second, although municipal fact-finding is entitled to deference if supported by substantial evidence, courts often deferred to municipal redevelopment designations based on an expert’s conclusory testimony that the property satisfied the statutory requirements for redevelopment. Gallenthin clarified that judicial deference is proper only if a municipality presents meaningful, quantitative evidence that directly correlates to the relevant statutory criteria. Indeed, post-Gallenthin judicial review provides property owners with great protections without frustrating legitimate redevelopment initiatives.
James R. Zazzali & Jonathan L. Marshfield, Providing Meaningful Judicial Review of Municipal Redevelopment Designations: Redevelopment in New Jersey Before and After Gallenthin Realty Development, Inc. v. Borough of Paulsboro, 40 Rutgers L.J. 451 (2009)