BOROUGH WINS PERMIT-PARKING LAWSUIT

Hudson_parking_red_bankThe ordinance upheld in the case was largely aimed at addressing concerns raised by Hudson Avenue residents about postal workers.

Red Bank has defeated a legal challenge to its authority to create residential permit-parking zones.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson last week issued a decision that rejected the arguments by a lawyer for Tai Truong, a mail carrier who contended that such a zone on Hudson Avenue was unconstitutional.

The 20-page decision, which follows a one-day trial in Freehold in March, also found that the borough had not improperly conferred special rights on Hudson Avenue residents.

“The courts give a huge amount of deference to everything that municipalities do,” attorney Bill McCarter tells redbankgreen.

McCarter, who used to have mail to his office on Drs. Parker Boulevard delivered by Truong, took the case on without payment, but said he would be unable to pursue an appeal pro bono. He said he had not heard from his client about the decision as of late last week.

The case grew out of two parking tickets issued to Truong in May 2008, just over a month after the borough enacted an ordinance creating a permit for residents of Hudson.

Residents had complained to elected officials that workers from the 138-employee post office on Broad Street were blocking driveways with parked cars. Postal workers countered that they weren’t. They also said because their employer gives them no place to park, that Hudson Avenue, which is all but bereft of cars during workdays, was needed.

Lawson ruled that, contrary to McCarter’s arguments, Red Bank had the legal authority to create the parking zone and had not done so arbitrarily or capriciously.

He also wrote that the 2008 ordinance

does not confer undue privileges on a special class of persons, but instead creates a reasonable classification based upon Red Bank’s desire to protect the public welfare in neighborhoods by maintaining safe traffic conditions, and reducing the issues created by congestion and overburdened streets.

Lawson, though, citing testimony by borough parking authority director Gary Watson, also found a problem in Red Bank’s failure to hang appropriate signage for each of the streets covered by permit zoning. He gave the borough 90 days to fix the problem or risk having the ordinance nullified. Until it does, the ordinance may not be enforced, Lawson wrote.

Here’s the full Lawson Parking Opinion.