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Leigh Realty Company v. Jackson Township Planning Board

A-1643-05T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2006) (Unpublished)

ZONING; SITE PLANS — The statute that authorized ten year protection for preliminary site plan approvals does not authorize a land use board, at the time it is asked to grant final site plan approval, to request additional information that the board could and should have obtained at the time of the preliminary approval.

A developer applied for and received approval for a preliminary site plan for constructing homes in a municipality. The approval provided for a statutory protection of ten years. The developer also obtained approval for a five-year extension of the preliminary approval. When the municipality’s board granted the approval, it cited the importance of the drainage system proposed for the site.

The developer was not subject to new stormwater management regulations adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) because the regulations exempted “major developments” that received preliminary site plan approval before the rules were adopted. Nevertheless, the board demanded that the developer submit a new stormwater management plan and the developer refused. On that basis, the board denied final site plan approval.

The lower court reversed the board’s decision denying approval of the final site application, finding that the statute did not authorize the board to request additional information that the board could and should have obtained at the time of the preliminary approval. The Appellate Division affirmed, noting that the board did not offer any reason why it required a new stormwater management plan from the developer.


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