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Another day in court for oft-challenges Hoboken redevelopment plan

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The legal battle over a plan to redevelop a Hoboken industrial complex has reached its fourth courtroom in as many years, where a judge is now expected to rule on a zoning dispute in lieu of the Mile Square City's governing body.

The conflict stems from a project by Kane Properties LLC, which since 2009 has sought to demolish the complex on Newark Street and replace it with a 12-story residential high-rise, according to court documents.

But the plan has stalled since the Skyline Condominium Association, whose building is near the project site, challenged a set of zoning variances granted to Kane Properties and appealed to the city council.

The governing body later threw out the variances, prompting more than three years of legal wrangling that brought the case to state Supreme Court in February. Late last month, the high court sided with the developer, whose attorneys had raised alarm about conflicts of interest after the former lawyer for Skyline later became involved with the case as the attorney for the city council.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Superior Court level in Hudson County, where Arnold K. Mytelka, a Springfield-based attorney for Kane Properties, said he expects the judge to issue a ruling after taking input from Hoboken officials. Attorneys in the case are expected to meet next week for a case management conference.

"That was sort of a compromise that the Supreme Court created in this remedy," Mytelka said, calling the case "unusual" in land-use law. He added that the court is "going to take away the decision-making power" of the Hoboken council, but still allow it to have a say.

A Hoboken city spokesman did not respond to a request for comment this week.

The redevelopment area is the former site of Rey Foods, a wholesale meat business that operated for 21 years before moving, in part due to complaints from Skyline residents, court filings said. Skyline residents who opposed Kane's redevelopment project cite concerns including its effect on traffic, the adverse effect on sunlight and their current views of the Hudson River.

Reporter Joshua Burd is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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