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Murray v. West Milford Township Council

A-4462-02T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

ZONING—Where a land use board’s decision is supportable by evidence before the board, a court will not upset the board’s decision unless it is arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious.

A local resident challenged the local board of adjustment’s grant of a use variance which permitted a telephone company to construct a one hundred twenty-five foot unmanned cellular monopole on property that was zoned for low-density residential use. Courts give deference to local boards of adjustments and municipal governing bodies and will only overturn decisions that are arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious.

The lower court and the Appellate Division felt that the board’s decision was not arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious. The board had held four hearings and heard testimony from several experts, while considering the concerns of the public. As a whole, the witnesses testified that the monopole would not pose a threat to safety or health. Furthermore, there was testimony that the monopole would not affect the value of the neighboring property. Therefore, it was held that the board was thorough in its review of the evidence prior to making its decision.

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