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Town of Belleville v. Parrillo’s, Inc.

New Jersey Supreme Court
416 A.2d 388 (N.J. 1980)


Facts

Parrillo’s (defendant) operated as a restaurant in the Town of Belleville, New Jersey (plaintiff). Subsequently, Belleville enacted zoning ordinances itemizing permitted uses for each zone. In the zone where Parrillo’s was located, operating a restaurant was not permitted under the new zoning laws. However, because Parrillo’s operated as a restaurant prior to the enactment of the laws, it was permitted to continue operating as a restaurant because of its preexisting nonconforming use. However, some years later, Parrillo’s ceased its primary operation as a restaurant and began operating as a discotheque, which was also not permitted under the new zoning regulations. Parrillo's owners made significant changes to the premises in converting the restaurant to a discotheque, including changing the lighting, adding loud music, and removing tables. Parrillo’s applied for a discotheque license but was denied. When Parrillo’s continued to operate as a discotheque, the town filed charges. The municipal court convicted Parrillo’s and assessed a fine. The New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division affirmed. The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division reversed. The Town of Belleville appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clifford, J.)

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