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5 N.J.A.R. 120

Roger Gardens, Inc.; Community Affairs, Department of, Bureau of Housing Inspection v
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Citation: 5 N.J.A.R. 120
Decision Date: 1983
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS
Synopsis: Respondent contested the requirement that it install automatic AC interconnected smoke detection systems in the common areas of the ten buildings comprising its apartment complex. A penalty of $50,000 had been assessed against the respondent for its failure to install the systems. The administrative law judge found that it was undisputed that the detection systems were required and had not been installed. The judge noted, however, that under N.J.S.A 55:13A-19(b) the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs had the discretionary authority to assess penalties ranging from $500 per violation to $5,000 per violation. The question remained whether the Commissioner was bound to assess a penalty of $5,000 per violation for a total of $50,000 because of an established, but not officially promulgated, policy. The judge determined that this policy could not be enforced since it had not been adopted in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. Accordingly, because of good faith efforts on the part of the respondent to comply with the order, the judge assessed only a penalty of $1,000 per violation for a total penalty of $10,000. John J. Chernoski, Deputy Attorney General, for petitioner (Irwin I. Kimmelman, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) David J. Goldberg, Esq., for respondent (Warren, Goldberg, Berman and Lubitz, attorneys)