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Plaintiffs may be zoned out of town


Two North Jersey towns which sued the township to prevent, the doubling of minimum residential lot sizes for their land may find themselves zoned out of the housing market.

Last night the planning board recommended approval of the rezoning of 115.4 acres off Cozzens Lane from 30,000 square foot residential lots to education recreation research. Permitted in such a zone are university facilities agriculture, research, public buildings and parks, utilities and penal facilities.

Public hearing on the rezoning is set for April 2 before the township committee.  The tract being rezoned includes Sabella Park, a cemetery, a farm and the 28 acres .owned by Memgar Inc. of Springfield. Memgar wants to subdivide its land for housing, while the township wants to acquire it for a park. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has already awarded North Brunswick a grant for the acquisition of the land, but an application for matching funds from the slate Green Acres program is unlikely to be approved.

Township Attorney Joseph Burns said the committee has not decided whether it wants to spend the money to match the HUD grant to expand Sabella Park. Memgar and the contract purchaser of the land, Briarcliff Village of Eliabeth, applied to the planning board in September 1971 for a subdivision for, 15,000 square foot lots as the land was then zoned.

The planning board said it wanted to put a year's hold on the land for recreation or educational use and convinced the corporations lo withdraw their application and have the year start immediately.  But when the Republican administration adopted the new zoning ordinance and master plan in December 1971 as its last act in office, the entire area along Cozzens Lane was rezoned for 30,000 square foot lots.

Memgar and Briarcliff filed suit in 1972 seeking approval of the original application for 15,000 square foot lots.  Judge Harry V. Osborne Jr. ruled recently that the rezoning of that tract was invalid. But the township and Memgar's attorney Gerold Kanengiser of Springfield can't agree on how Osborne said to correct the matter. Kanengiser said the ruling means the township must be back to the 15,000 square foot zoning, while Burns said the opinion didn't require that or indicate what the zoning should be.

"We're all a little puzzled," said Burns.  A conference has .been scheduled before Osborne on April 6 to clarify the decision. Meanwhile, the township committee introduced the rezoning on March 19 and expects to act on April 2.

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