Wait Too Long and You Lose Your Right to Appeal an Adverse Decision by a Zoning Board of Adjustment

HNWReal Estate, Landlord/Tenant, and Zoning

zoning board of adjustment

  • New Jersey Law allows a limited period of time to Appeal an adverse decision by a governmental entity.
  • If you fail to file an Appeal with the New Jersey Superior Court while an Administrative Appeal is pending, you may waive your rights to go to Court in the future.
  • It is imperative that you remember the Statute of Limitations in deciding when and if to Appeal a governmental decision.

I recently read a case published by the Appellate Division in which a property owner was prevented from bringing legal action against a builder and professional consultants as a result of being denied approvals from a municipality.  The case had to do with Statute of Limitations and its impact on appeals from Administrative proceedings.   The Statute of Limitations is a legal concept which means (in simple English) that you cannot wait too long to bring a lawsuit or you will lose your right to bring that lawsuit in court.   In this case, after the municipality denied the application of the property owner appeals were filed with the Administrative agencies.  Unfortunately, an Appeal was not filed with the Superior Court within two (2) years following the denial by the governmental agency.  The property owner claimed that pursing Administrative Appeals extended the time in which he could bring a lawsuit against those which caused his/her economic injury.  The Appellate Division said not so quick.   The statute of limitations starts to run on the date a plaintiff becomes aware (or should have become aware) of defendant’s “fault” before or during a Judicial or Administrative Resolution of the underlying application.  The accrual of a cause of action is not postponed by an administrative appeal of the underlying dispute.  Therefore, the relevant inquiry to apply the statute of limitations is when the client suffers damages and discovers what the damages are attributable to the defendants.

This case should be taken to heart by all property owners as well as their agents and representatives.

To discuss your NJ zoning and Planning Board matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq., of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County NJ Zoning and Planning Board Attorney

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