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Thursday, May 12, 2016

CRANFORD DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES, LLC, ET AL. VS. TOWNSHIP OF CRANFORD, ET AL. A-5822-12T2

CRANFORD DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES, LLC, ET AL. VS. TOWNSHIP OF CRANFORD, ET AL. A-5822-12T2 
In this Mount Laurel case, we addressed a series of issues in affirming the trial court's decision granting plaintiff developer a builder's remedy. Under the circumstances presented, plaintiff satisfied the requirement to negotiate in good faith before filing the lawsuit. Plaintiff did not have to establish that its lawsuit was a "catalyst for change" as a separate element of its claim for a builder's remedy. Rejecting defendant's proposed "all or nothing approach" to the builder's remedy, we held that the trial court had authority to modify the builder's remedy plaintiff sought by decreasing the number of approved units. Under the facts presented, the trial court had 

discretion to appoint a special hearing examiner to review and approve plaintiff's final site plan application, in a proceeding that allowed participation by the local planning board. We rejected plaintiff's cross-appeal, holding that the New Jersey Civil Rights Act does not authorize a counsel fee award to a developer in a builder's remedy lawsuit.