BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench has released a statement with regard to the lawsuit filed Jan. 31 by the applicant for the Center of Excellence concerning the memorialization of the resolution for the approval of the application.

“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,” Moench 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.”

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.

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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.

Moench said in the statement that the memorialization of the resolution for approval of the Center of Excellence project is on the agenda for the Feb. 25 meeting, while the planning board’s six new members and new attorney get up to speed on it.

“Nearly two years after they first filed their site plan, with a voluntary dismissal and a number of other delays of their own making along the way, it is hard to take this developer’s demands for immediate action seriously,” he said in the statement. “Advance Realty knows very well that this lawsuit will not be resolved before the planning board convenes on Feb. 25 to consider this resolution, so this action is either a publicity stunt, or, worse yet, a blatant and shameless attempt to end run our municipal land use process.”

“Whatever their motives, the board and this administration will not be bullied by developers seeking to turn a profit at the cost of our residents’ quality of life,” he added.