BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The court has agreed to adjourn a planned Feb. 13 hearing regarding the lawsuit from the Center of Excellence so long as the planning board memorializes its resolution on the application approval at its Feb. 25 meeting.
The township is also required to send its resolution to the Center of Excellence applicant for review by no later than end of business Feb. 13, according to court documents.
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 filed by the applicant Jan. 31, 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. The planning board did not consider the memorialization of the resolution on Jan. 28, and Peck advised the applicant the following day that it was expected to be on the agenda Feb. 25.
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. In addition, the applicant is looking for the planning board to consider a letter dated Jan. 24 that objects to certain elements of the memorializing resolution, and to adopt the memorializing resolution within seven days of the court's decision.
The court was scheduled to hear the case Feb. 13.
Bridgewater Township Planning Board Attorney Mark Peck requested in a letter Feb. 6 that the hearing be adjourned until after the Feb. 25 planning board meeting, during which the board has already indicated it will memorialize the resolution.
"Notwithstanding this clear commitment, plaintiff felt it necessary to file suit, which is both premature and unnecessary as, again, the board has committed to Feb. 25, 2020 to adopt the resolution," he said in the letter. "Accordingly, I am requesting that the return date for this matter be carried to after the Feb. 25, 2020 scheduled meeting date, at which time same will be rendered moot."
In a letter response, the attorney for the applicant said they would agree to an adjournment of the hearing date on the condition that the planning board send a draft resolution to the applicant by no later than close of business Feb. 13.
The court granted the request, and the hearing has been moved to Feb. 28.