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Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers of New York, Inc. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of North Bergen

A-2713-03T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2005) (Unpublished)

ZONING; ARBITRARINESS; CAPRICIOUSNESS—In the zoning context, “arbitrary and capricious” is typically understood to mean willful and unreasoning action, without consideration and in disregard of circumstances.

A restaurant franchiser sued a municipal zoning board to force it to grant it a variance to build a restaurant. The board denied the application because it believed that the restaurant would cause traffic congestion on the local streets.

The Appellate Division held that since the franchiser failed to present evidence that the board’s denial of its application was capricious or arbitrary, the denial by the board and the board’s concern that the restaurant would aggravate local traffic problems was given deference. According to case law, “‘Arbitrary and capricious’ is typically understood to mean ‘willful and unreasoning action, without consideration and in disregard of circumstances.’” The Court therefore upheld the board’s denial of the franchiser’s application.


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