Update: This ordinance was eventually tabled because without Township cooperation, the goal of preserving the right-of-way could not have been achieved.
After a lengthy and occasionally contentious hearing, Borough Council voted this evening (Nov. 29th) to introduce an ordinance creating a transit-only zone for the area covered by the Dinky right-of-way in the Borough. The vote was unanimous. As originally proposed, the zone would have included additional land (lot 4) but the sponsor of the ordinance (Crumiller) moved to exclude this area from the ordinance after Council declined to pass a version covering the larger area.
The meeting began with remarks from attorney Tim Korzun, with the Pennington firm Sheak and Korzun, who had been asked to give a second opinion on potential legal issues with the transit-only ordinance. The special counsel initially retained by the Borough for views on the ordinance (Robert Goldsmith) had indicated that it could be challenged as spot zoning or as involving inverse condemmnation. Korzun disagreed, arguing that the ordinance was unlike those typically struck down as spot zoning because it served to provide clear benefits to the public. He also suggested that an inverse condemnation claim would fail because the ordinance would not zone the land into “inutility” but would continue to allow for current uses and would expand the permitted uses somewhat.
The University raised sharp objections to the ordinance. Bob Durkee suggested that the University might not build its arts complex if Council passed it. University attorney Richard Goldman argued that it would impair the University’s private property rights and would add up to spot zoning or a taking.
Bruce Afran, who represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed on the 1984 contract, urged Council to adopt the transit-only zone and in particular the version with the larger land area.
this area was excluded from the ordinance when it appeared