Jul 30, 2014

Potential Old Orchard Developer Sues Eatontown Planning Board

A complaint filed by the developer states that the board's decision to reject a Master Plan change is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.

Potential Old Orchard Developer Sues Eatontown Planning Board
By Christopher Sheldon

A developer whose plans for Old Orchard Country Club have been stopped twice by the Eatontown Planning Board is now suing the board.

The complaint, filed in Monmouth County Superior Court on Dec. 19, on behalf of Eatontown Ventures LLC states that the board's decision to reject a Master Plan change during its Dec. 9 meeting is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable. 

The Master Plan change would have preserved 75 acres of the property for open space and the other 60 acres that fronts Route 36 would have been zoned for non-residential development.

Board member Mark Regan made the motion to deny the land-use-change amendment, and the motion was supported by board members Dan Drury, Mark Woloshin, Cathy Silva, Edmund Fitterer Jr. and Regan. They are all named as defendants in the complaint, in addition to the Eatontown Planning Board, Eatontown Mayor and Council.

Voting against the motion were Mayor Gerald Tarantolo, board chairman Carl Sohl and board member Michael Napolitan.

The complaint calls for a reversal of the board's decision to reject the Master Plan amendment, adopting the amendment, declaration of the board's decision as null and void and "awarding such other relief as may be just and equitable."

The complaint also states that the current zoning for the site, which allows for low density single family dwellings, is "no longer realistic, viable or consistent with sound land use planning."

The complaint goes on to state the incoming Republican councilmembers Kevin Gonzalez and Richard Robinson "based their campaigns, in part, on their opposition to the," Master Plan amendment and "colluded with the Republican members of the (Eatonotwn) Planning Board," to get them to vote down the amendment.

It goes on to say that the decision by the five planning board members to deny the amendment presented an ethical conflict and violated due process and equal protection laws. It calls for them to pay "compensatory, consequential and punitive damages in the amount of $50 million" pay several legal fees.

Eatontown Ventures LLC is being represented by Paul Schneider of Giordano, Halleran and Ciesla.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!