Superior Court Rules in Center of Excellence Case
Bridgewater, NJ – Today, Somerset County Superior Court Judge Thomas Miller ruled in Bridgewater Township’s favor in the lawsuit filed by Advance Realty, the owner of the Center for Excellence site. Advance Realty had filed suit against the Township claiming that the Planning Board had unjustly withheld final site plan approval for the grocer and hotel at their potential development site.
Judge Miller’s decision states:
“While Plaintiff complains that the ramifications of that finding is that the entire project will be “held up” and delayed, that unfortunate circumstance does not detract from the legality of the Board’s action. In fact, during these hearing, when the Board requested the information, the Plaintiff could have provided it and addressed the issue directly with the Board. Instead, it did not submit the plans and indicated that it would agree to a condition for their subsequent submission and review by the Board. Certainly the Plaintiff was aware of the consequence of their offering when they made it.”
Mayor Matthew Moench issued the following statement in response to Judge Miller’s ruling:
“I would like to applaud the clear and direct decision by Judge Miller in this case. Advance Realty continues to act in bad faith in their attempts to end run this Township’s municipal land use process. They must have learned by now that it is not our job, or the court’s job, to make this process easier for them. They need to answer to the Board, the Township and our residents first, just like any other developer.
“Bridgewater’s process provides applicants looking to grow and expand their businesses in Bridgewater, a full and fair opportunity to do so. But, we refuse to allow it to be held hostage by a developer looking to squeeze profits at the cost of the quality of life of our residents.
“The developer now needs to come back before the Bridgewater Planning Board with greater details on the grocer and hotel before receiving final site plan approval. As I have stated, it continues to be essential to the redevelopment of this site, and its impact on the community, that the Planning Board has all the information it needs on this significant aspect of the proposed development.
"My Administration will continue to advocate for a redevelopment plan that is appropriate for our community and that fits within the character of the Township we love. It is what the residents are demanding and I answer to them.”
Advance Realty is now required to appear before the Bridgewater Township Planning Board to seek final site plan approval for the grocer and hotel. The date of a hearing in front of the Board is to be determined.