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North Brunswick mulls appeal of zoning decision


The township committee is considering appealing a Superior Court decision whch says it must revert to 15,000 square-foot residential zoning for a tract of land it wants to obtain under Green Acres funding and wants to zone for education-recreation-research.

In anticipation of such an appeal the committee last night tabled rezoning for 115.4 acres. Included in this is 28 acres owned by Memgar Inc. of Springfield, the corporation which filed suit to obtain the 15,000 square-foot residential zoning.

Also included in the tract it wanted to rezone is a cemetery, a farm, and Sabella Park. No one objected to the proposed rezoning during - last night’s public hearing on the planning board recommendation. However the Middlesex County Planning board asked that the research portion of the proposal be deleted, contending the township was “overzoned for industry and industry related uses.

The court is “reluctant to allow us to operate in the fashion we consider best for North Brunswick,” Mayor Jack Pincus pointed out. In explaining his request for a tabling of the proposed re-zoning, the mayor indicated he did not want to see "Too hastily imposed that section of the township a quick housing project."

Pincus was referring to a decision from Superior Court Judge Harry V. Osborne Jr., who ruled the rezoning of the land to 30,000 square foot residential lots was invalid. Osborne later clarified his ruling to revert to the prior 15,000 square foot residential zoning. Memgar wants to subdivide its tract for housing.

The township wants to acquire it for a park and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has already awarded the municipality a grant for acquisition. The township must decide if it wants to spend the HUD grant and its own money to expand Sabella Park since committee members say an application for matching funds from the state Green Acres program is unlikely to be approved.

Memgar and the contract purchaserof the land between the park and cemetery, Briarcliff Village of Elizabeth, applied to the planning board in September, 1971 for a subdivision of 15,000 square-foot lots. The land was zoned for it at the time.

However the planning board at the time said it wanted to put a year’s hold on the land for recreation or educational use and convinced the corporations to 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.

The coporations sued to obtain approval for the 15,000 square-foot lots. Joseph Burns, township attorney, said last night the committee has 45 days from the time it received Osborne’s decision to file an appeal. The case would then be heard by the Superior Court Appellate Division.

Read the original article here.

Earlier Event: March 27
Plaintiffs may be zoned out of town