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Thread: Advise on controversial development

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Advise on controversial development

    I have before me an application that in and of itself is not a bad subdivision for around 400+ SF & THs and some commercial. It's on a County Road triggering my jurisdiction on frontage improvements etc.

    My dillema is this is phase 2 of a project where in phase 1 the developer is only now finishing up their required improvements, the past planners before me had let this get to where it is now by not staying on the developers back. Back in the 80's when phase 1 was developed noone knew a phase 2 would be submitted in the future, it was not part of an overall plan. However, since phase 1 project left such a bad taste in the public's mouth and it ends up the developer violated many EPA and NJDEP regulations that phase 2 may have to be redrawn. Now, this is speculative and will most likely end up in a redesign, but I HAVE to make a recommendation in my staff report to the board in July.

    My problem is my supervisor is telling me to extend is for the 3rd time or deny the project both of which will probably not make a happy developer. I view this project as, if it were a stand alone project not tied to this developer it is a pretty good project. However, since I am pretty sure of what is to come, even if I give it an approval I'm almost guaranteed it will be back before my board in the future with a new design triggering new approvals all around. My boss doesn't want us to be the only regulatory division to give this approval while the EPA and NJDEP and the town will deny it and make us look 'sympathetic' to the developer.

    I really need some guidance on what to do here, I have 3 weeks.
    @GigCityPlanner

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Yo cant deny a plan based on an applicants tract record. You'll end up in court and you will lose.

    You can require the applicant to post escrow for the necessary improvements, and the municipality actually completes the improvements.

  3. #3
         
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    It sound like its not your jurisdiction's decision anyway if I am understanding your facts correctly. Just condition any recommendation for approval on your road frontage improvments to the approval by the town of the larger development. If the town denies the development your job is over. If they approve it then craft a development agreement that assures the required road improvements get installed and bonded. If you follow your juridictions standards and criteria you will be doing right to your public even if the developer may not be.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Senior Jefe
    It sound like its not your jurisdiction's decision anyway if I am understanding your facts correctly. Just condition any recommendation for approval on your road frontage improvments to the approval by the town of the larger development. If the town denies the development your job is over. If they approve it then craft a development agreement that assures the required road improvements get installed and bonded. If you follow your juridictions standards and criteria you will be doing right to your public even if the developer may not be.
    That's pretty accurate... however I have a supervisor who hates to upset the politicos and he or someone has gotten pressure to not approve this. By approving it the County (us) may look like were "developer friendly" when the town and everyone else has denied it. They want to avoid looking like this... that's my real dilema, I have no doubt I will get the required improvements in a timely manner from these guys.
    @GigCityPlanner

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Your job is NOT to be firendly or unfriendly to "developers" more commonly known as "The Applicant"

    Your job is to review submission against the ordinances binding your municipality. If the plan complies = Approved. If it almost complies = Approved pending revisions. If it doesnt comply w/ anything = Denied.

    This really isnt a matter for debate. Trust me you really dont want to be hauled into a court room and asked to give a statement why you denied a plan that complied with the applicable ordinances.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Jeff... And left to my own devices I would conditionally approve this project pending revisions and bonds/agreements etc. However, my boss will not let me approve this... I can just see it now, another year wasted in court with this one... *sigh*. Sometimes you have to do what your boss tells you, and there's no convincing this guy that he's wrong.
    @GigCityPlanner

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    ^^^^Agreed. As long as you're not the one on the hook for it. Does he sign the review letter, or do you?

    Are you licensed? If so, and you sign the letter, I'd tell him to piss off.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff
    Agreed. As long as you're not the one on the hook for it. Does he sign the review letter, or do you?

    Are you licensed? If so, and you sign the letter, I'd tell him to piss off.
    I sign the staff review report. I could balk and get him to. If we end up in Court it'll be our director on the stand as my supervisor doesn't have his licence either. I wish I was licenced, I did pass the test but all the paper work isn't done yet on their end.
    @GigCityPlanner

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Thats a tough one, I'd tactfully get your boss to sign it if it wont negatively effect your employment status

  10. #10
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Don't you have a 'return for local determination' option? I would voice the actual problems you can potentially see, reflecting that you've considered this, that, and the other thing, and tell them it's their decision -- which it is anyway since you're at the County level, right?
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

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