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9 N.J.A.R. 286

Woodbridge, Municipal Council of the Town- ship of; Inn at Woodbridge, Inc. v
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Citation: 9 N.J.A.R. 286
Decision Date: 1984
Synopsis: The Township of Woodbridge denied appellant's application for a new plenary retail consumption license pursuant to N.J.S..4. 33:1-12.20, and appellant appealed from that denial. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that in 1978 appellant had applied for approval of a plan to build a multi- story office building and hotel complex. The plans also indicated that appellant would apply for a liquor license for the hotel. The Board of Adjustment denied variance and site plan requests, but the Town- ship Council itself reversed those decisions and, in approving ap- pellant's project, commented upon the need for such a project in the Township. In 1983 construction of the hotel portion of the building was completed at an expense of approximately 15 million dollars. Shortly before a scheduled opening in 1984, the Township advised petitioner (for the first time) that the Township had a 'policy' requir- ing hotel license applicants to purchase an existing license instead of the Council's issuing a new license under the hotel/motel exception of the law. The judge found that this 'policy' had never been embodied in writing, nor had it been adopted or published. In addition, the judge found that the reasons to support this position were unfounded in either law or fact and that the Township had specifically found a need for the project in 1979 and had never reversed its position. Accordingly, the administrative law judge concluded that the Township abused its discretion in denying the application for a license and ordered the issuance of the license. Upon review, this initial decision was adopted by the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The Director noted State of New Jersey 287 that, while the issuance of a license under the hotel/motel exception of N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.20 is permissive, a local issuing authority must exercise its discretion reasonably. The complex met all the require- ments of the statute and had been encouraged by Township officials; to require it to pay an inflated price for an existing license was found to be unreasonable and, under the facts of this case, the denial of the new license application violated the intent of the hotel/motel exception embodied in the law. Richard M. Salsburg, Esq., for petitioner (Mandelbaum, Salsburg, Gold & Lazris, attorneys) Burton J. Jacowitz, Esq., for respondent
Statute(s) Cited: 33:1-12.20 
Citation Tracker adopted-Div. of A.B.C.; affirmed -App. Div. A-2429-84, 5/8/86 (unreported); certification denied 105 N.J. 510 (1986) [Updated through 1991]