Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A&p Drops Closter Board Appeal

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A&p Drops Closter Board Appeal

Article excerpt

CLOSTER -- The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. has withdrawn its court appeal against a borough board over the Closter Plaza revival, but Jesse Rosenblum -- a resident with a long track record of legally testing official decisions -- insists his matching case will proceed.

The Montvale-based grocery chain, in a letter on Monday, cited its recent bankruptcy filing as the reason for its change of heart. But Rosenblum, a retired purchasing agent who has earned notoriety for bringing lawsuits against the borough, said he's sticking to his guns and will pursue A&P's case.

"Why should I give up?" Rosenblum said. "[The Closter Plaza project] shouldn't have gone to the Planning Board but to the zoning board."

He added that a 600-space parking shortfall at Closter Plaza was poorly handled and that the borough settled for less compensation than it should have gotten.

In March 2014, A&P and Rosenblum sued the Planning Board, Centennial AME Zion Church and Closter Marketplace, claiming the Planning Board lacked jurisdiction over the site plan because a shopping center is not a permitted use in that business area and therefore the plan should have been decided by the zoning board. A state Superior Court judge ruled in January that the claim lacked merit. However the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Superior Court Appellate Division. No date has been set for oral arguments. Following A&P's decision, it will just be Closter v. Rosenblum.

"It's an interesting development," said Arthur Chagaris, Closter's Planning Board attorney. "We're halfway there."

Multiple cases

Rosenblum, 82, a resident since 1954 who said he collects recyclables to make money, currently has several cases pending against what he calls "phony farms," or farms that earn tax breaks but have little farming activity on the land. In the past, he also has filed lawsuits over restaurants that he said don't pay enough taxes and an expansion project by Temple Emanu-El.

"He always represents himself. He has no attorneys working with him," observed Chagaris. "He comes to every board meeting. I guess he enjoys this."

Rosenblum, who is unmarried and listens to C-SPAN when he's not filing lawsuits, said "I want to keep busy and keep my mind working. …

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