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Patriot Homes, L.L.C. v. Franklin Township Planning Board

July 19, 2007

PATRIOT HOMES, L.L.C., A NEW JERSEY LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP PLANNING BOARD; TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN; AND DIRECTOR OF FRANKLIN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.
PATRIOT HOMES, L.L.C., A NEW JERSEY LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, AND KEVIN AND REGINA ANDERSON, HUSBAND AND WIFE, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP PLANNING BOARD; TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN; AND DIRECTOR OF FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, L-1829-04 and L-1499-05.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted June 12, 2007

Before Judges Stern and Coburn.

In these actions in lieu of prerogative writs, which we have consolidated for purposes of this opinion, plaintiffs appeal, contending primarily that the trial court erred in failing to grant their requests for automatic approval of their subdivision plans pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.4. We disagree and affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Curio in her oral opinion of August 14, 2005, during which she concluded that plaintiffs had failed to prove that the municipal actions at issue were unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.

I.

The first case, A-0699-06T1, concerns the development by plaintiff Patriot Homes, L.L.C. ("Patriot") of property on Coles Mill Road, located at Block 1602, Lot 16. The second case, A-0700-06T1, concerns property located at Block 301, Lot 15, purchased by plaintiff Patriot from plaintiffs Kevin and Regina Anderson (the "Andersons"). Both properties are located in Franklin Township.

In the first case, Patriot submitted a major subdivision and site plan to the Franklin Township Planning Board ("Planning Board" or "Board") on or about April 4, 2004. On April 8, 2004, Patricia Knobloch, Director of the Community Development Department (the "Director") advised Patriot that the application was incomplete because several items were missing. There were twenty-three items that needed to be addressed. These items included:

1. Pinelands Certificate of Filing or a NJDEP Freshwater Wetlands Application/LOI/Exemption;

2. Written statements of any submission waiver request or variance required and the reasons why the waiver(s) or variance(s) should be granted;

3. Key map showing: the entire subdivision, the proposed street pattern in the area to be subdivided, the distance to the nearest existing developed area, and the relationship of the subject tract to the surrounding area and road system;

4. The name of the proposed subdivision; municipal tax map sheets; & block and lot numbers; the date; reference meridian; graphic scale;

5. The location of the outline of any wooded areas, together with the limit of and proposed clearing. Vegetation information, may be required in any major subdivision application at the request of the reviewing board;

6. Profiles and cross sections of proposed streets within the subdivision and existing streets and highways abutting the subdivision;

7. Typical cross section of street shall clearly indicate the type and width of paving, location of curb, location of sidewalks and street tree locations;

8. Buffer or screen planting locations, any existing proposed sight triangles at intersections and the radius of the curb lines shall be indicated;

9. Where any regrading is proposed, finished grade contours should be shown in solid lines;

10. The total acreage of the drainage basin, upstream of the proposed subdivision of any water course, running through or adjacent to said subdivision;

11. The total acreage of the drainage basin to the nearest downstream drainage structure;

12. The location and extent of drainage or conservation easements and stream encroachment lines;

13/14. The plat shall show or be accompanied by plans and computations for a storm drainage system;

15. A landscape plan showing the location of all plant materials to be installed on site and all areas of ...


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