In response to a five-count complaint filed April 16 in the Law Division of Essex County Superior Court, a judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order barring Montclair from implementing a rent control ordinance issued on April 7 at the township’s virtual meeting.
Judge Jeffrey Beacham of Essex Superior Court Law Division enjoined Montclair from implementing a rent control ordinance it passed on April 7. The order provides that the township cannot take any action to implement the rent control ordinance pending further proceedings scheduled by the court.
The lawsuit filed by the committee of petitioners and the Montclair Property Owners Association asserts that Montclair’s “enactment and enforcement of the ordinance is in violation of the defendant’s police powers and is therefore invalid, void and of no purpose and effect.”
A hearing has been set of June 3 to determine whether the injunction will become permanent, which is likely to last until the state of emergency has eased to the point that petition signatures can be collected for a referendum.
“Not only does this order validate our claim under the law in this specific case, it is a warning to all municipalities who, under the cover of emergency, would seek to pass politically-motivated legislation at a time when the public, both practically and legally, is deprived of its right to express itself or mount challenge,” says Charles Gormally of Brach Eichler, attorney for the Committee of Petitioners which includes Steven Plofker, David Genova, Suzanne Miller, Paul Weinstein and Brandon McEwen.