Sunday, January 24, 2016
DIAL, INC., A NEW JERSEY NONPROFIT CORPORATION VS. CITY OF PASSAIC AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY A-2106-13T2
DIAL, INC., A NEW JERSEY NONPROFIT CORPORATION VS. CITY OF PASSAIC AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Invoking various federal and state anti-discrimination laws, plaintiff, a disability rights organization, challenges the validity of a portion of a state statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4 197.7. The provision authorizes municipalities to charge a permit fee to disabled persons who request a personally assigned, exclusive parking space on the street in front of their residences.
On the same legal grounds, plaintiff challenges an ordinance adopted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-197.7 by the City of Passaic. The ordinance imposes an annual fee of $50 for a disabled person to obtain, upon request, a personally-assigned handicapped parking spot in front of his or her residence. The City conceded, however, that a separate provision within the ordinance that had imposed a fee for obtaining "generic" (i.e., not personally-assigned) handicapped parking spaces on residential streets was invalid.
Plaintiff contends that fees imposed for personally assigned parking spaces represent an illegal surcharge that discriminates against the disabled. The trial court rejected this argument, finding that no federal or state anti-discrimination laws or regulations require public entities to provide such personally-assigned handicapped parking spaces on public streets.
We affirm the trial court's rejection of plaintiff's facial challenge to the fee provisions within the statute and ordinance. The City is not precluded from charging a reasonable fee for a parking benefit that is not required under the anti-discrimination laws and which is not otherwise made available to non-disabled persons.