The Township of Montclair’s motion seeking to vacate an injunction against the implementation of its rent control ordinance has been denied. The court previously entered the injunction at the request of a Committee of Petitioners who want to challenge the ordinance through the referendum process which would put the question to all voters to decide.
A June 3 hearing will determine whether a permanent injunction will be issued that prevents the ordinance from becoming effective during the state of emergency, and whether the ordinance was legally adopted in the first instance.
The ruling by Judge Jeffrey Beacham comes after the township passed on first reading an ordinance to introduce a rent freeze at the May 5 Montclair Council Meeting, which Ron Simoncini, executive director of the Montclair Property Owners Association, called “just one more indication of the unbridled political machinations surrounding the issue of rent control in Montclair. Property owners were 100 percent correct in confronting this ordinance as not only bad public policy but unrepresentative of the wishes of the community.”
Prominent among several key points referenced in the judge’s ruling delivered orally after the argument, was the notion that the pandemic compromises the ability of the citizens to exercise their right of referendum, which was found by the court to be a “substantial right.”