In a decision with broad implications for municipal planning in New Jersey, a state appellate court ruled on June 23 that towns cannot pass laws that force developers to save open space, build playgrounds and baseball fields, or pay for such upgrades.
The decision will bring to a halt a long-standing practice among many municipalities that have used such ordinances to provide for local open space and recreation facilities.
Environmentalists blasted the ruling and the New Jersey League of Municipalities declared it would fight the decision on two fronts: with an appeals to the state Supreme Court and the state Legislature.
The decision was a response to lawsuits filed by the Builders League of South Jersey against Egg Harbor Township and the New Jersey Shore Builders Association against Jackson Township in Ocean County.
The case was successfully argued for the Builders League by Richard J. Hoff, shareholder at Flaster/Greenberg; with Matthew T. Stanger, a member of Flaster/Greenberg's Real Estate Practice. Robert M. Washburn, of counsel at Flaster/Greenberg, serves as counsel to the Builders League of South Jersey. Here is their summary of the ruling.