Last year, Szaferman Lakind was retained to represent a developer on Long Beach Island on the appeal of a denial of subdivision approval. Our client wanted to convert a defunct bar into a residential development and applied to subdivide the property into six (6) residential lots in Long Beach Township. In an effort to thwart the subdivision, the Township amended the zoning ordinance to rezone the property for commercial use and to prohibit the proposed subdivision. However, we were able to file the application with the Land Use Board days before the rezoning became effective and thus the prior residential zoning was applicable to the application.
However, the Ordinance in effect at the time of the application contained an unusual provision, as it would only permit the proposed subdivision if the rear line of each lot was located at the median line of the block. If the rear line of each lot were not at the median line of the block, the proposed subdivision was not compliant. Because the block was irregularly shaped, the Township professionals and the Land Use Board determined that the median line of the block was irregular and our client’s rear lot line was not at the block’s median line. The Long Beach Township Land Use Board thus denied the subdivision application in its entirety, which, because of the intervening adoption of the Ordinance rezoning the property to a commercial use, would have barred the residential use at great cost to our client.
Arnold Lakind was retained by the property owner to handle an appeal of the denial and to contest the Township’s interpretation of the Ordinance. The case was tried in February and resulted in a decision in favor of our client as the Court found that the Township’s interpretation of the Ordinance fulfilled no legitimate purpose. The Judge construed the Ordinance in the manner advocated by our client and ordered the Land Use Board to issue an approval of the subdivision for all six (6) lots.