Firm partner William F. Harrison was quoted in a Nov. 7th Law360 article entitled, “NJ High Court Could Give Towns More Ammo In Zoning Battles”. The article discusses a case in which the Court will consider when towns are justified in designating property as environmentally sensitive in order to prevent higher density development.
A key precedent is the Appellate Division's 2001 decision in Mount Olive Complex v. Township of Mount Olive, according to Harrison. If the Supreme Court was to reverse that decision and say towns could rely on the State Plan, said Harrison, “that would give towns considerably more flexibility than they currently have in justifying downzoning.”
However, such a ruling wouldn't automatically allow a town to impose 20-acre zoning, according to Harrison. “I think there still needs to be local justification as to the specific zoning density you're coming up with,” he said.
The case is Griepenburg v. Township of Ocean, case number 073290, in the New Jersey Supreme Court.
William Harrison is Director of the Environmental Law and Land Use & Approvals practice groups and is a member of the firm’s Commercial Real Estate & Redevelopment practice group.