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Change in ordinance leads New Jersey business to sue

New Jersey businesses often have to rely on local, state and federal governments in order to legally operate their business. In many cases there are permits, regulations and licenses that are required for businesses to legally operate in the state. These licensures and regulations are so important that when the government refuses to grant them to businesses, it can lead to commercial litigation.

In a recent New Jersey case, a gas station has sued a local township for changing an ordinance to make it easier for a competitor to move into the area. According to reports, the town of Hamilton previously had a land development ordinance which said that new gas stations could only open up if they were 1,500 feet away from any existing station. This ordinance was repealed in April, making it legal for a new gas station to open near an existing station.

An owner of a local BP station has now sued the town saying that repealing the law was unfair. According to the lawsuit, the town only repealed the law after developers of Wawa gas stations showed interest in developing two “super stations” in the town. The man claims that the change in the ordinance was only done to appease the developers.

While the developers say that they did initiate the change in the ordinance, it was necessary since the ordinance was not legally sound. They argue that case law supports the repeal.

This case illustrates how important governmental issues can be for a business. If the new gas stations are allowed because of the change in the law, the BP owner could lose significant revenue. New Jersey business owners should always be aware of all local, state and federal laws that regulate their business. They should also know what they need to do to obtain and keep any licenses they need. By avoiding business litigation with governmental agencies, businesses can save time and money.

Source: The Times, “Gas station owner sues Hamilton, saying revised law favors Wawa developers,” Mike Davis, July 15, 2013

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