October 13, 2008

Court Rebukes Xanadu Developer, but Upholds Megamall’s Permits

By Lee, Evelyn

New Jersey's appellate division last week ruled that the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and the state Department of Environmental Protection had sufficient grounds to issue permits for Meadowlands Xanadu, a 4.8 million-square-foot entertainment, sports, retail, hotel and office development under construction at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in Bergen County.

The New Jersey Sierra Club, in alliance with other environmental groups, and Secaucus-based developer Hartz Mountain Industries had filed lawsuits arguing that the two agencies did not have adequate information to recommend the Xanadu project proceed, because comprehensive traffic, air quality and stormwater reports were not presented or available to the agencies.

The court agreed that a larger area traffic study, more detailed air quality assessments and a completed groundwater application should have been submitted prior to the agencies' approval of the project. The appellate division, however, said the agencies still were capable of making a recommendation based on the preliminary environmental impact statement on the project, public comments and their own expertise, and found that the decision was not made arbitrarily. - Evelyn Lee

Construction at the Xanadu complex is expected to be completed in 2009.

Copyright Journal Publications Inc. Sep 22, 2008

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