POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The borough’s effort to acquire the Amethyst Motel suffered a legal setback Friday, when an Ocean County Court judge dismissed its attempt to compel an inspection essential to condemnation of the property.
Judge Marlene Lynch Ford ruled the borough had “failed to comply with the procedural requirements of New Jersey’s Eminent Domain Act” and thus “lacked the authority” to enter the motel property.
The borough has announced its intention to acquire the motel site, either through a negotiated sale of eminent domain in order to provide additional parking in Point Beach. But the plan is strongly opposed by the owner, John A. Fernicola, who is waging a public campaign against it.
Amethyst Motel attorney, Paul V. Fernicola, who is not related to the owner, praised the ruling.
“The Court’s ruling today ensures a condemning authority is held to its obligations to deal fairly and forthrightly with property owners whose property is sought for acquisition via eminent domain,” he said.
Point Pleasant Beach had sought an adjournment of a scheduled April 18 hearing on initial condemnation litigation in order to give the borough council time to approve a pending ordinance that would authorize it to proceed.
According to Paul Fernicola, this represented an admission that proper authority under New Jersey’s Eminent Domain Act, was lacking.
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