Board Being Sued for Denying Pines Lake Application
Homeowners wanted to divide a 30,000 square-foot property into two smaller lots and build a house on one of the lots.
The Planning Board is being sued for denying an application to subdivide a Pines Lake lot into two smaller properties.
A complaint has been filed in superior court against the board and township regarding the board denying Frederick and Barbara Habeeb’s application to split a 30,000 square-foot lakefront property into two separate lots.
The complaint states: “The actions of the defendants, the township, and its planning board were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”
The board was scheduled to discuss the ongoing litigation at a meeting on Monday in closed session.
The Planning Board voted to deny the application in September.
The homeowners want the denial “set aside and declared null and void.”
The Habeebs wanted to divide their property into a 16,000 square-foot lot and 14,500 square-foot lot. The Habeebs live in a house on part of the property while an adjacent portion of the property remains vacant. They want to construct a new home on the property.
“I just thought the township didn’t give its due regard,” said Gerome Vogel, the lawyer representing the Habeebs. “I don’t think the decision is consistent with the way the neighborhood has been developed and I thought that the proposal we put forth, given the lots and the size of the lots in the area was acceptable.”
Properties in Pines Lake average approximately 15,000 square feet in area. The neighborhood was created between 70 and 80 years ago. Many of the homes were originally hunting cabins.
An ordinance approved in 1960 stipulates that new properties in Pines Lake must be at least 30,000 square feet in area.
At a meeting in September, residents said they were concerned that having two smaller lots so close to the lake sets a bad precedent despite the fact that most the properties on the street are approximately the same size.
Vogel argued that the larger lot that exists now “damages” the neighborhood more than the two proposed small lots would. He said the subdivision would have been “fair, reasonable, and consistent with what’s there now and what will always be there in that area.”