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Rogers v. Township of Holland Planning Board

HNT-L-540-09 (N.J. Super. Law Div. 2010) (Unpublished)

ZONING; PLATS — New Jersey’s statutes require a developer to file a plat within ninety-five days after a major subdivision’s final approval; but where the plat has not yet been signed by the municipality, the ninety-five day time period is not yet implicated.

A municipality granted a three year extension of final subdivision approval beginning in August of 2008. The original approval had been granted in July of 2004. A challenger claimed that the extension grant was improper and ultra vires since the final subdivision’s approval had expired ninety-five days after the adoption of the 2004 approval resolution when the plat went unrecorded. The municipality defended that it could not proceed with the signing of the plat due to successive lawsuits by another party that did not conclude until August, 2008. The Court noted that the relevant statute requires filing ninety-five days after signing of the plat; since there was no signed plat, the ninety-five days never began to run. Further, the Court gave deference to the municipality’s explanation that it was impractical to execute the plat while litigation was pending.

The challenger next argued that an approval extension was unwarranted because the approval could only be granted for up to three years. However, New Jersey’s statutes permit the approval period’s expiration to be tolled when the approval was delayed due to litigation designed to protect the public health and welfare. Since the relevant litigation related to a reduction in the width of an open space access easement and the adequacy of a stormwater management plan, the litigation implicated the public welfare and satisfied the terms of the tolling statute.


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