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ARC Springfield, LLC v. Township of Springfield

A-6915-00T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2002) (Unpublished)

ZONING; AMENDMENTS— When adopting a zoning ordinance, a governing body must explain in detail its reason for the change and the change must be in substantial compliance with the municipality’s master plan.

A lower court, in what the Appellate Division called a “thoughtful written opinion,” determined that an amended zoning ordinance was invalid. It held that “the ordinance was not in substantial compliance with the Township’s master plan as related to” the property in question. Its observation was that “[i]n this case, the governing body did not even go so far as to explain in the detail its reasons for changing the zoning of the plaintiff’s property, but rather simply stated how in its estimation the rezoning would further the intent of the master plan.” Further, the lower court, with the Appellate Division’s approval, “determined that the amended ordinance constitute[d] spot zoning, finding that the bulk limitations imposed by the regulation, as well as the newly-imposed restrictive uses were ‘drawn along [plaintiff’s] property lines and applied to [plaintiff’s] property only.’”

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