Land Use Liability
Centennial Land & Development v. Medford Township (1979) | Absolute Immunity (as opposed to qualified immunity) applies to members of Planning and Zoning Boards engaged in quasi-judicial activity.
Schad v. Mount Ephraim (1981) | The US Supreme Court voided a zoning ordinance that prohibited adult bookstores because the ordinance allowed a broad range of other uses in the commercial zone and therefore unconstitutionally singled out a particular type of speech.
Anastasio v. West Orange Planning Board (1986) | Board members are eligible for absolute immunity even when they ignore a court order to grant an approval.
Renton v. Playtime Theater (1986) | The Supreme Court upheld a zoning ordinance that prohibited adult theaters within 1000 feet of a residential zone where there were other places under the zoning code where the theater can operate.
Whispering Woods v. Middletown (1987) | A land use board may enter into a settlement with an applicant that is appealing the board’s decision but must give the public the opportunity to be heard on the terms of the settlement.
Nunziato v. Edgewater (1988) | Absent a legal requirement that establishes guidelines to require offsite improvements, it is not legal to accept voluntary contributions from developers.
White v. Norwark (1990) | In dealing with agenda items, a governmental entity does not violate the first amendment when it restricts speakers to the subject at hand.
Smith v. Fair Haven (2000) At onsite visits, board members should not go beyond arguments advanced in the hearings and should report what was learned at the next meeting.
Tenafly Eruv Association v. Tenafly (2002) | The use of a sign ordinance to deny the establishment of a ERUV constituted illegal selective enforcement because the town had not consistently enforced is sign ordinance.
Mansoldo v. NJ (2006) | In deciding inverse condemnation cases, courts must ask if the regulation effectively eliminates all commercially productive use of the land and must also determine if the regulation interferes with legitimate investment-backed expectations of the property owner.
Al Falah v. Bridgewater (2013) | The Federal Court ruled that the action of the town in denying the application of a mosque was a violation of RLUIPA because the revision to its zoning and the nature of the hearings clearly indicated the discriminatory intent of the town’s actions.
Grabowsky v. Montclair (2015) | The fact that the Mayor’s mother might live in the applicant’s facility in the future is not sufficient cause to require the Mayor to recuse. The fact that the Mayor is a board member of the adjacent church is sufficient to require recusal.
Hartz v. Spring Lake (2018)| The applicant did not have an action against the Planning Board under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act because the applicant had not exhausted the statutory process for securing the right to be heard by the board and had prematurely filed for a prerogative writ.