Lawsuit Seeks to Block Newark’s Scott Towers Development

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Scott Towers 31 Scott Street Newark Devlopment
Three nearby property owners want approvals for the nine-story Scott Towers development thrown out due to inadequate notice and allegedly suppressed public participation. Rendering by OCA Architects.

A new mixed-use project that was greenlit over the summer is the subject of a new legal challenge, as three nearby property owners want approvals for a nine-story development thrown out due to inadequate notice and allegedly suppressed public participation.


On August 17, Newark’s Central Planning Board approved a development at 337-339 Mulberry Street dubbed Scott Towers during a virtual hearing. Designed by OCA Architects, the scheme looks to construct 92 units over 1,458 square feet of ground floor retail space in a project that includes 13 parking spaces.

Scott Towers Lawsuit 31 Scott Street Newark
Rendering by OCA Architects.

On November 16, three landowners sued Newark’s Central Planning Board looking to derail the project. Hillside-based AC&J Restoration Group Corporation, the company looking to construct Scott Towers, is not named as defendant in the case.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include 53-55 E. Kinney LLC, a company headquartered in the Brick City and owners of an industrial garage at the same address. The other plaintiffs are Chesslete’s Property LLC, who own a single-family home at 15 Scott Street and are registered out of North Bergen and Fairfield-based 335 Mulberry Associates LLC, owners of a vacant one-story structure next to the approved project.

The lawsuit says that the planning board granted Scott Towers a waiver for insufficient minimum driveway and an additional six bulk variances relating to insufficient parking, excessive number of signs, insufficient façade transparency, and insufficient shade trees. But the developer’s public notice allegedly stated that they were only seeking three bulk variances, which the case claims isn’t adequate.

“As a result [of the notice], the public was deprived of the information necessary to intelligently determine whether to object to the application or to seek further information,” the lawsuit says.

The legal filing additionally claims the virtual planning board hearing failed to comply with state law requiring meetings be open to the public.

“By holding the August 17, 2020 meeting of the Planning Board remotely via Zoom without offering an opportunity for members of the public not possessing the necessary technology to attend or effectively participate in the meeting, the planning board has violated the Sunshine Law,” the case claims.

The lawsuit also objects to the parking variance granted by the board, as Scott Towers is required to provide 53 spaces under the neighborhood’s existing zoning. “The planning board improperly found that the benefits of permitting the bulk variance to deviate so significantly from the minimum parking space requirement outweighed the detriments of permitting the deviation,” the case says.

An inquiry regarding the lawsuit placed to Newark’s Press Office has not yet been returned. The case was filed in Essex County’s Civil Law Division and no hearing date on the matter has been set.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Typical. Mulberry st is cursed.
    So is Newark.

    This won’t get built.
    Where’s Halo?
    Where’s Vibe?
    Where’s Riverfront Sq?
    Where’s RBH’S “SOMA” & “MILLENNIUM Broad & Market?
    The only thing going up is the value of all these Land Bank properties!

    I’m a lifelong Newarker and pessimist.

  2. My Name is Lorrie McKinney I live at 735south 11st st in Newark No I have been living th For 91/2 years. It’s three properties 53 different on us buy a management company runs at all they told us a week before Thanksgiving that we will have to be out by December 31 because the new landlord wants to move in now we all six tenants got the same text how can one landlord move in three different properties the selling off the property they claim because of the COVID-19 do you have multiple families living in these buildings I want them out by the 31st I’ll give them a date how soon we have to be out but we know they just want to go up on the rent because everybody’s buying a property in Newark so it’s causing the ones that lives here for a long time mini or years have to move out we’re already paying marketsome of us of us arcane $1600-$1900 a month to rent the property and most of us have a daughter is living with us who can’t afford the high price rent and they’re not giving you housing so what do we do the ones that are suffering is us because we’re not able to get in the high-rise buildings that they’re looking at because they have credit problems are don’t make enough money so who’s winning who’s.

  3. While I like to believe that this project will ultimately come to fruition, I find the anti-progress, anti-development conga-line, typical of some in Newark, nauseating.
    Too often, in my beloved city, there’s a knee-jerk reaction to viscerally oppose any and all new development proposals. Often times, the loudest of these empty drums, are property owners who’ve sat on their un/under-developed parcels for untold years, while blithely objecting to beneficial, worthwhile new developments.
    This sect of uninformed obstructionists, can not be allowed to retard this city’s growth any longer. While any reasonable objections should be heard, the meritless opposition to new development, just for the sake of preventing change, needs to be rejected for the inanity that it is.

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