BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The courts will potentially make a decision in the next week regarding the lawsuit filed by the applicant for the Center of Excellence against the Bridgewater Township Planning Board.
A court hearing is scheduled in Somerville for Feb. 13, in the applicant's, Advance Realty's, request for summary action to order the planning board to memorialize the resolution regarding the approval for the Center of Excellence within seven days.
Mayor Matthew Moench released a statement regarding the lawsuit after it was filed Jan. 31.
“As I have said many times before, development and land use matters in Bridgewater will no longer be met with a handshake and a rubber stamp,” he said in the statement. “Our administration will aggressively oppose any attempt to circumvent our zoning ordinance and will oppose this meritless action by Advance Realty every step of the way. Though this may be something less than Advance is used to, it is no less than what Bridgewater residents deserve.”
Representatives for Advance Realty released a statement about the court filing following Moench's comments.
"The facts are in the papers filed in court, and media accounts are not the place to address this," the statement said. "Advance will await the court's determination."
The applicant filed suit against the Bridgewater Township Planning Board after the latter failed to memorialize the resolution on the approval for the project at its Jan. 28 meeting.
The application for the project, which was approved by the planning board Dec. 10, was expected to be on the agenda for memorialization of the resolution of approval Jan. 28, according to the suit filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Somerset County, but was removed from the agenda at the last minute.
According to the suit, the applicant was informed early in the day Jan. 28 that the vote for memorializing the resolution would be adjourned, as the new attorney for the planning board, Mark Peck, was still reviewing the transcripts for the hearings.
During the Jan. 28 planning board meeting, the board then canceled its next meeting for Feb. 11 because there are no applications scheduled to be brought up, but said at the meeting that they would meet Feb. 25, regardless, in order to memorialize the resolution for the Center of Excellence.
State statute, the suit says, requires the memorialization of the resolution to be done within 45 days of the meeting when the approval was granted, but, as of now, the planning board has not done so.
In the suit, the applicant is requesting that the court declare the planning board in violation of that statute, and require the planning board to adopt the memorializing resolution within seven days of the court's decision.