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10 N.J.A.R. 36

Pinelands Commission; Ghaul, Charles and Jeanne v
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Citation: 10 N.J.A.R. 36
Decision Date: 1987
Synopsis: Petitioners, the owners of two contiguous subdivision lots in a Regional Growth Area of the Pinelands sought a waiver of strict compliance from the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan to construct a single family home on the second of the two lots. The administrative law judge assigned to the case noted that under N.J.A.C. 7:505.28(b) residential dwellings such as the one sought to be constructed here could only be developed on lots of 3.2 acres where a conventional on-site septic waste disposal system is to be utilized or on a site of at least one acre where an alternative waste water system is used. Where, as here, the property to be developed is smaller than the designated lots a waiver of strict compliance is required. Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:50-4.61 for such a waiver to be obtained, it must be found that strict compliance with the plan would result in extraordinary hardship to the owners or that a compelling public need necessitates the waiver. Here, the judge found that there was no hardship which arose out of the unique circumstances of the land or which arose out of the characteristics of the lot. The judge received petitioners argument that their inability to develop the smaller parcel would prevent them from obtaining a reasonable return. While acknowledging that the smaller lot, on its own, might not be capable of providing a reasonable return the judge noted that in light of prior Commission rulings the undeveloped lot could not be considered to stand alone. Based upon these rulings, the rate of return would have to be figured on the combined lots, since all contiguous land owned by an applicant must be considered in determining whether a parcel is capable of yielding a reasonable return. Accordingly, the administrative law judge rejected the petitioners application and granted the Commission's motion for summary decision. Upon review this initial decision was adopted by the Pinelands Commission.
Rule(s) Cited: 7:50-4.61 7:50-5.28(b)