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287 Corporate Center Associates v. Township of Bridgewater

November 27, 1996

287 CORPORATE CENTER ASSOCIATES, APPELLANT

v.

THE TOWNSHIP OF BRIDGEWATER, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. Civil Action No. 94-cv-03686)

Before: SCIRICA and COWEN, Circuit Judges and POLLAK, District Judge *fn*

SCIRICA, Circuit Judge.

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a)

October 31, 1996

Filed November 27, 1996)

OPINION OF THE COURT

In this inverse condemnation action, 287 Corporate Center Associates ("Associates") sued the Township of Bridgewater ("Township") under 42 U.S.C. Section(s) 1983 and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution for allegedly taking its property without just compensation. The district court dismissed the case as time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations. Associates has appealed. We will affirm.

I.

The district court had subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Section(s) 1331. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Section(s) 1291. Our review is plenary. See Nelson v. County of Allegheny, 60 F.3d 1010, 1012 (3d Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S. Ct. 1266 (1996).

II.

Associates owns a piece of property (Lot l2) in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. Lot l2 is a 39 acre tract split-zoned into two categories: approximately one half is zoned single family residential; the remainder is zoned for office and service facilities. After various proposals to develop Lot l2, Associates entered into a developer's agreement with the township planners.

Associates contends that under the developer's agreement and the Township's zoning scheme, it has been unable to develop its property. Specifically, Associates asserts it was forced to accept conditions as part of the developer's agreement which restricted the lot from being developed and foreclosed proper access to the site. Associates also contends the dual zoning designation prevented Lot l2 from being developed in accordance with either the residential or the commercial zoning ordinance. *fn1

Associates brought an inverse condemnation suit against the Township under 42 U.S.C. Section(s) l983 and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The complaint alleged both a regulatory taking and a physical taking, and it sought damages or in the alternative an injunction directing the Township to zone the entire Lot l2 "commercial" and permit reasonable access to the property. *fn2 The facts alleged in the complaint occurred between 1981 and 1985, but suit was not filed until August 2, 1994. The Township filed a motion to dismiss the complaint as time-barred under New Jersey's two year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. The district court granted the motion to dismiss and Associates appeals, contending alternatively its claims should be exempt from any ...


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