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9 N.J.A.R. 202

Pinelands Commission, New Jersey; Braun, Charles and Nancy v
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Citation: 9 N.J.A.R. 202
Decision Date: 1986
Agency: PINELANDS COMMISSION
Synopsis: Petitioners appealed from a denial of their request for waiver of strict compliance from the minimum lot size requirements of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan in order to develop a 2.3 acre lot. Petitioners had previously owned an adjacent lot with a house but sold it, allegedly on the erroneous advice of a Pinelands staff member that the second lot could be 'grandfathered in' for approval despite its inadequate size. The Pinelands Commission moved for summary decision on the grounds that petitioners were not entitled to a waiver and that the doctrine of equitable estoppel did not apply. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that a Commission employee had advised petitioners that they should proceed with tests necessary to an application for a waiver of strict compliance and indicated that the site 'looked good.' The employee, however, made no specific representation as to whether the appli- cation could be grandfathered in and a waiver granted. In addition, petitioners were aware of the need for a waiver, understood that the Pinelands employee was not authorized to grant a waiver and further were aware that at the time they entered into their contract of sale the application for a waiver was incomplete. The administrative law judge granted summary decision to re- spondent having concluded that no extraordinary hardship existed which would support petitioner's request for a waiver of strict com- pliance. In addition, the judge concluded that the petitioners had failed to establish any specific misrepresentation on the part of a Commission employee upon which they could rely. Any comment made was preliminary in nature and petitioners had been clearly put on notice before entering into a contract for sale that their application had not been completed. State of New Jersey 203 Accordingly, respondent's motion was granted. Upon review, this initial decision was adopted by the Pinelands Commission. Leland A. Stanford, Esq., for petitioners (Stanford & Bruce, attorneys) Brian D. Smith, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent (W. Cary Edwards, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney)
Rule(s) Cited: 7:50-4.66(a) 1