JACKSON-The Jackson Township planning board’s 4-4 vote on October 7th, 2019 resulted in a denial for the Jackson Trails subdivision located on South Hope Chapel Road in Jackson. Today, the applicant requested that the board reconsider their decision, filing a motion for reconsideration with the township. The planning board has already agreed to carry the hearing over to the December meeting of the planning board.
Under New Jersey law, the board may reconsider a previous decision if that decision was based on errors or mistakes by the voting members.
Salvatore Alfieri, the lawyer representing the Jackson Trails development cited New Jersey and federal case law that would allow the board to reconsider their decision and stated that the applicant has made all of its testimony regarding the application.
Under rules set forth by the State of New Jersey, an applicant may ask for reconsideration “On its own motion when unusual circumstances so require in the interest of justice,” according to the Cox & Koenig, New Jersey Zoning and Land Use Administration.
“Any applicant or interested party may, within 20 days of the publication of the notice of the decision, move the board for a rehearing of the matter by filing an application in the form of a letter addressed to the board containing a brief statement of the ground relied upon,” the law states.
In New Jersey, planning boards have the power to review, modify and rescind its decision,” according to case law stemming from a 1985 case in Burlington County.
The letter received by Shore News Network, delivered to the township was dated November 22nd, 2019.
Alfieri’s stance is that the applicant’s project is completely conforming to local zoning laws and is in compliance with all ordinances in the Township of Jackson.
“Under case law, there is absolutely no basis in law or fact for the board to have denied the application,” Alfieri said. “On reconsideration, the board should be guided by the applicable law and apply same appropriately. Clearly, the board was under misapprehension of its powers and the applicable law and made a mistake in its reasoning and decision making that resulted in a decision that is arbitrary, unreasonable and capricious.”
Alfieri said the application is fully in compliance with local and state laws and noted that public opposition, according to the law is not a basis for denial.
“Public opposition to a conforming application should not have swayed any of the board member votes,” Alfieri said. “None of the reason given in opposition to the application by the members of the public provide a basis in fact or law to support the denial of the application.”
Alfieri added that public comment during the hearings that courts in New Jersey have declared unjustified for the basis of a decision by a board.
Public opposition to the application has been heard at the meetings and a large turnout is expected at the next planning board meeting. Alfieri noted comments made by planning board members Terrance Wall and Hudak.
Alfieri disputes Wall’s claim that the board was forced to take a vote under duress on October 7th, noting that the motion was brought forth by the board and seconded by the board before voting.