BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A trial date has been set for October in the case of the Center of Excellence against the Bridgewater Township Planning Board.
The case will be heard before Judge Kevin M. Shanahan Oct. 13 at 9 a.m. in Somerset Superior Court in Somerville.
According to court documents, court-ordered mediation must be completed by the discovery end date.
The plaintiff, in this case Advance Realty, must file its trial brief and documentation no later than Aug. 17, and the defendant must file an opposition within 45 days of the plaintiff's filing.
The Center of Excellence, which was approved for Route 202/206, is actually the former Sanofi Aventis site. As approved in December, it will include 400 rental apartment units, plus retail shops, restaurants, a hotel and a supermarket on a plot of almost 62 acres.
The application for the project, which received pushback from a sizable portion of the public during a series of planning board meetings, was ultimately approved by the planning board in December. Advance Realty then filed a lawsuit at the end of January concerning the planning board not immediately memorializing the resolution for application approval, which had been pulled from the agenda for the board’s Jan. 28 meeting.
On March 11, Advance Realty filed an amended complaint with the court. Count one, according to the document, declares that the planning board failed to act on the application’s request for final site plan approval by 120 days after the completed application was filed, plus an extension, to Dec. 10, 2019.
The second count states that the planning board’s decision to withhold final site plan approval for the hotel and grocery store pending final drawings is unsupported by the record before the board, and is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.
In count three, Advance Realty said there is no requirement by the township’s ordinance for the applicant to provide detailed floor plans for the application, but the applicant did. The plaintiff said they are not required to give further site plans, so, based on that evidence, they are entitled to final site plan approval.
Count four, according to the documents, is requesting judgment against the township planning board for failing to memorialize the resolution within 45 days of the application approval.
A request for partial summary judgment in the case, which was denied by the judge in early June, was on counts one and three, seeking automatic approval for the part of the application that requests final site plan approval for the hotel and grocery store. In the filing for the judgment, Advance Realty attorney Kevin Coakley indicated that the planning board’s decision to not grant final approval for the two entities conflicts with its initial site plan approvals.
The court denied Advance Realty’s motion to force the planning the board to issue final site approval.