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2018 Begins With Victory in the Appellate Division

The firm recently achieved victory in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. In Van Schoick v. Jackson Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, et al. the firm defended the zoning board’s approval of use and bulk variance application for a commercial use. The firm previously successfully defended the approval at trial and the plaintiff-objector appealed the trail court’s decision to the Appellate Division.

The Appellate Division affirmed in an unpublished opinion. The court found that the zoning board’s findings fully supported its conclusion that the defendant-applicant demonstrated undue hardship warranting the approval of its use variance application. The subject property was so small that it could not be developed for any of the uses permitted in the zone. Therefore, the positive criteria under the Municipal Land Use Law were met because the defendant-applicant would suffer “undue hardship” in the absence of the variance. Moreover, the uncontroverted expert testimony presented at the public hearing also provided a foundation for the trial court’s determination that the defendant-applicant met the negative criteria because the impact of its proposed use of the property would be minimal on the plaintiff-objector and any adjoining landowners. Finally the appellate court found that the zoning board’s determination did not impact the municipality’s overall master plan and the zoning board’s resolution set forth a comprehensive explanation of its decision to approve the application.

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