Thursday, May 28, 2009
A developer sues and get the right to subdivide into smaller lots than otherwise permitted under local zoning rules, through a state statute designed to build more affordable housing. Can a purchaser from the developer take advantage of this special zoning? No, according to a New Jersey appellate court holding yesterday (Tanenbaum v. Township of Wall Bd. of Adjustment (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. May 27, 2009)).
A couple had bought a large lot in the development and sought to split it into two parcels, both of which would have been large enough under the zoning granted to the developer through New Jersey’s complicated “Mount Laurel” laws for affordable housing. But because the couple had not been a party to the developer’s lawsuit, the township and court both found, the couple’s plan was “non-Mount Laurel construction,” and thus they were bound by the pre-lawsuit minimum lot size requirements, which would not allow two lots on their land (which might be surrounded, of course, by smaller lots subdivided by the developer).
It may be said that New Jersey townships have fought the implication of the Mount Laurel principle at every turn and in every way, sort of like the Russian Army at Stalingrad (perhaps they see the consequences of doing otherwise as similar), and this decision is yet another chapter …
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