ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — According to www.nj.com, a proposed carwash, which has been in a legal dispute involving a former mayor, will finally be built after the state’s Supreme Court declined to hear arguments for the case.
The petition of certification was filed to the New Jersey Supreme Court by Atlantic City carwash owner Greg Voci against hard Hard Cheese AC, LLC, owned principally by Montgomery Dahm, the article continued.
Hard Cheese AC has applied to build an automated carwash on a vacant lot that was zoned neighborhood-commercial and single-family-attached, thus requiring the company to file for a variance, the article noted.
Voci, who owns a carwash in the area around the proposed location, argued that the testimony given by then-Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian in 2017 had improperly influence the zoning board because the mayor had spoken to the board before the public comment session; court documents state that Guardian had to go to another meeting, the article noted.
After giving his testimony, Guardian spoke with the zoning board chairman, which was followed by a testimony from an engineer and a local laundromat owner supporting the venture, and the board eventually approved the application, the article added.
But Voci challenged the decision, arguing the board did not give due consideration to Guardians’ testimony and that Guardian testified as a friend of Dahm and had used his businesses in the past for political purposes, the article noted.
Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez reviewed the case and upheld the decision that the carwash could move forward with construction, the article stated.
Voci appealed the Superior Court decision, which was upheld by the state’s Appellate Division judges, who deemed there was no evidence that Guardian had a conflict of interest, that his testimony did not taint the process and that he was allowed to comment because the application affected the entire community as opposed to a private interest, the article noted.
Dahm is happy that he can finally proceed with the carwash, and he said, “I am looking to bringing another wonderful business to Atlantic City. It is very sad that this great carwash project was delayed due to an obviously feeble attempt by a very concerned competitor.”
Voci’s attorney had previously argued that the mayor should not have been able to testify in front of the zoning board, because as the highest ranking city official, his presence could possibly have had an influence on the board, the article continued.
“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court decided not to take up the case,” F. Thomas Hillegass, Voci’s attorney, said. “I think it’s an interesting issue, because when a sitting mayor comes in and offers testimony in support of the application before the application is presented — you never see the board start the presentation with a comment from the mayor advising they approve the application. It is just such a unique situation.”
Read the original article here.