EDISON, NJ  – A state Superior Court judge dismissed the Edison Board of Education’s lawsuit against the township Zoning Board, ruling the school board had no legal standing to file the action in the first place and it could not provide supporting evidence for claims against the Zoning Board.

Judge James P. Hurley, presiding in New Brunswick, dismissed the school board’s lawsuit in a ruling from the bench on July 31, thwarting the board’s attempt to overturn Zoning Board approvals for eight, three-bedroom residential units on Harding Avenue.

“The Zoning Board is grateful that Judge Hurley clearly recognized this lawsuit was without merit and without proof. Simply put: The school board had no legitimate basis to file this lawsuit,” said Zoning Board attorney Bhavini Tara Shah.

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The judge also dismissed the BOE’s claim that the Zoning Board violated the Open Public Meetings Act when it adopted a resolution to approve the project.

The school board lawsuit – pushed by BOE President Jerry Shi and member Richard Brescher – attempted to undo an April 30 Zoning Board approval for two multifamily buildings, each with four, three-bedroom units, that Edison-based Markim Developers wants to build on Harding Road.  Shi and Brescher claimed eight more units would add to school overcrowding.

Forbidden by state land-use law from using “school overcrowding” as the basis for challenging variances that the Zoning Board issued to Markim Developers, the Board of Education’s lawsuit tried to cast doubt on the Zoning Board’s procedures leading up to its approvals.     

Reacting to published reports the school board may appeal Judge Hurley’s ruling, Shah said: “It would be an unfortunate waste of Edison taxpayers’ money for the school board to pursue expensive legal appeals. Any appeal would also be doomed to failure.”