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4 N.J.A.R. 359

Thompson, W. Bryce, IV, v. Pinelands Commission
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Citation: 4 N.J.A.R. 359
Decision Date: 1980
Synopsis: Petitioner sought approval for construction of a single family dwell- ing on a 10 acre lot within the Protection Area of the Pinelands. The application was denied by the Executive Director of the Pinelands on the basis that development of the lot was not consistent with the Pinelands Protection Act since the project would constitute scattered and piecemeal developments. Petitioner requested a hearing and the matter was heard by an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge noted that the agency had not asserted that the petitioner's development would substantially impair the re- sources of the Pinelands nor did the petitioner assert any compelling public need for the development. The sole question to be decided was whether the proposal is consistent with the purpose of the Pinelands Protection Act. The judge noted that on the consistency question, petitioner's proposal did not violate any of the twelve adopted standards con- tained in the agency's interim regulations set out at N.J.A.C. 7:16-1.1 et seq. The judge rejected the argument that the petitioner would have to meet not only these standards but also the standards set out in N.J.S.A. 13:18A-18B, the Pinelands Petition Act, as well. The judge reasoned that the scheme of the act requires that the agency undertake two distinct rule-making tasks,' first the development of interim regu- lation and second, a long range management plan. While the judge did not disagree with the argument that the goals of the act were to be weighed in considering interim period approvals, he felt that the Legislature had created the exclusive means by which application were to be measured in the interim period when it directed that the agency adopt, after public hearing, rules which specify the standards of the act. The judge reasoned that every standard to be applied during the interim period should pass through the scrutiny of the required public meaning. Accordingly, the administrative judge concludes that since peti- tioner did not violate any of the 'consistency' standards of the requlations and that since no 'substantial impairment' allegation had been made, the application should be approved. Thomas Norman, Esq., for petitioner Robert Grabowski, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent (John J. Degnan, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney)
Rule(s) Cited: 7:16-1.1 et seq.