On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Docket No. L-3090-10.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Telephonically argued November 16, 2012
Before Judges Yannotti and Hoffman.
The Law Division entered a final judgment dated December 5, 2011, reversing a determination of the Joint Planning and Zoning Board (Board) of the Borough of Deal (Borough) which denied an application by plaintiffs Julie and Lillian Montague for variances required to construct a tennis court on their property. Alice and Robert Hedaya thereafter intervened in the action and appealed from the trial court's judgment. We affirm.
Plaintiffs' property is an irregularly-shaped lot located within the Borough's R-1 Residential Zone. The lot is improved with a one-story frame dwelling and an in-ground swimming pool. The property fronts upon a cul-de-sac and has a large, irregularly-shaped front yard.
The Deal Golf & Country Club is located on adjoining property to the north and east. A portion of the golf course's parking lot is located adjacent to plaintiffs' property. The rear of the property abuts Deal Lake. A large, single-family residence is located on adjoining property to the south.
In 2010, plaintiffs submitted an application to the Board for approval to construct a tennis court in the front-yard area of their property. Tennis courts are permitted accessory uses in the R-1 Residential Zone; however, the Borough's zoning ordinance prohibits the construction of tennis courts in "any portion of a front yard." Therefore, plaintiffs required a variance to locate the tennis court in their front yard.
Plaintiffs also required variances from the Borough's side-yard and front-yard setback requirements for the tennis court. The Borough's zoning ordinance provides that a tennis court located in a side yard must be at least fifty feet from the street. The Montagues' proposed tennis court would be located twenty-three feet from the street.
The zoning ordinance further provides that a tennis court cannot be located less than thirty feet from the property's side lot line. The proposed tennis court has a setback of eight feet on the northern lot line, and three feet on the eastern lot line.
In addition, plaintiffs required a variance for their proposed upgrade of their existing driveway. The Borough's zoning ordinance provides that driveways must be located twenty feet from the property's lot lines. The proposed driveway is located fifteen feet from the side yard lot line.
The Board considered plaintiffs' application at a public hearing on May 13, 2010. At the hearing, plaintiffs presented testimony from David H. Boesch (Boesch), a professional engineer; Allison Coffin (Coffin), a professional planner; and Steven M. Chisholm, an arborist. Michael M. Pollack, general manager of the country club, also appeared and supported the application. No member of the public objected to the application.
The Board denied the application, and adopted a resolution dated June 3, 2010, which memorialized its decision. In its resolution, the Board stated that it had considered the testimony, documents and exhibits, and found that plaintiffs had not provided adequate and sufficient credible evidence to satisfy the statutory requirements for the variances they had requested.
Plaintiffs thereupon filed a complaint in the Law Division, seeking reversal of the Board's decision. On August 22, 2011, the trial court entered an order remanding the matter to the Board for adoption of an amended resolution setting forth specific reasons for denial of the ...