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Purwin v. Bernards Township Planning Board

Decided: July 1, 1987.

PAUL E. PURWIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BERNARDS TOWNSHIP PLANNING BOARD AND H. STEVEN WOOD, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR THE TOWNSHIP OF BERNARDS, DEFENDANTS



Ross, J.s.c.

Ross

This is a motion for summary judgment arising from an action in lieu of prerogative writs. The case involves planning board inaction, rather than the usual appeal from a planning board action. I have been asked to decide whether such inaction was proper and, if not, what result is required at this point. The procedural and factual background is stipulated and I will summarize it briefly.

On December 19, 1986, plaintiff, Paul E. Purwin, filed an application with the Bernards Township Planning Board for final minor subdivision approval to create a .98-acre lot from a 38-acre parcel in Block 138, Lot 2 on the Bernards tax maps, an area known as the Colonial Ridge tract. Purwin's application included all of the items set forth in the "check list" for

applications for final approval of minor subdivision, and the "check list" restated all of the requirements listed in Bernards ordinance ยง 706, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.3.

On January 29, 1987, defendant, H. Steven Wood, Administrative Officer for the Township of Bernards, notified Purwin by letter that his application was "incomplete." The reasons given for the status were Purwin's failure to comply with paragraph 13 of an April 29, 1980 resolution, and with paragraphs nine and ten of a June 18, 1985 planning board resolution. Both of these resolutions dealt with major subdivision approvals to the Colonial Ridge tract and the enumerated paragraphs placed certain conditions on further subdivision of the tract.

Specifically, paragraph 13 of the April 29, 1980, resolution provided:

that no further subdivision shall be applied for in the Colonial Ridge Tract without the applicant's submission of a full environmental impact statement for the entire tract in compliance with the Bernards Township Zoning Ordinance.

Paragraphs nine and ten of the June 18, 1985, planning board resolution provided that:

9. Any further development of the Colonial Ridge subdivision project (Lots 2 and 2.01, Block 138) shall take place in accordance with the stayed construction plan submitted by the owners, J. Robert and Adelaide P. Johnson, entitled, 'Overall Tract Layout -- Colonial Ridge' prepared by Yannacone, Murphy & Hollows, Inc. dated January 15, 1980 to the extent that the next stage proposed for development shall be at one end of the proposed master plan road through the said property.

10. No further application for subdivision of this tract (Lots 2 and 2.01, Block 138) shall be deemed to be complete unless accompanied by a full environmental statement for the entire tract in compliance with the Bernards Township Land Development Ordinance.

Purwin has not submitted an environmental impact statement for the entire tract, nor is his proposed subdivision at the end of any proposed master plan road for the tract.

On February 3, 1987, Purwin notified Wood that he felt the application was "complete." Purwin further appeared at a planning board meeting on February 17, 1987, to urge them to consider his ...


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