CRANFORD - Hartz Mountain Industries has filed a lawsuit against the Township of Cranford challenging the Planning Board's Resolution to deny the rezoning of 750 Walnut Avenue from commercial and industrial use to residential for multi-family development.
It is important to note that the lawsuit is NOT a builder's remedy lawsuit. Hartz Mountain seeks an invalidation of the Resolution, an award of damages, litigation costs and reasonable attorney fees, and such other relief as the court may deem just and equitable.
The application to rezone 750 Walnut called for 905 apartments units on the 30.5-acre property and was reviewed over 14 public meetings before the Planning Board casted a unanimous no vote. The lawsuit claims that the Planning Board acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it failed to properly consider the evidence presented by Hartz Mountain's experts.
The lawsuit also asserts that by denying the application, "It deprives Hartz Mountain the ability to replace the obsolete use that currently exists on the property, and impedes the Plaintiff's ability to provide much-needed affordable housing in the Township." The lawsuit further reads that the Township failed to acknowledge and act on the Plaintiff's request for the Township to consider the property for a designation for redevelopment.
In a Facebook post by Cranford Mayor Patrick Giblin, he said, "As a member of the Planning Board and the Township Committee, I stand by the decisions of both entities."
Cranford’s attorneys are reviewing the lawsuit and the Township Committee will discuss in closed session at Monday’s Workshop Meeting.
You can view the 84-page lawsuit here.