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Residents suing Eatontown Planning Board over mall redevelopment approval

EATONTOWN – A group of residents who live near the Monmouth Mall are suing the Eatontown Planning Board and Eatontown Monmouth Mall LLC following the board’s approval of a redevelopment plan at the regional shopping center.

A lawsuit filed by attorney Edward Liston on Sept. 27, representing dozens of residents, claims the Planning Board’s July 16 approval of Eatontown Monmouth Mall LLC’s plan to remodel, renovate and repurpose the mall and to construct 700 residential apartments on the mall property at Route 35 and Route 36 was arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, unlawful and ultra vires (beyond the board’s authority) for the following reasons:

• The Planning Board lacked jurisdiction to hear and decide the case because the application required a D-1 variance and a request for such a variance may only be considered by a zoning board of adjustment;

• That notice provided to nearby property owners regarding the development application was defective;

• Several members of the board and the board’s attorney had conflicts of interest that should have precluded their participation in hearing the application.

Liston is asking the court to reverse the board’s approval of the application; declare the resolution memorializing the approval to be null and void; order the board to deny the application filed by Eatontown Monmouth Mall LLC; or declare the application to be denied.

Attorney Patrick McNamara, who represents Eatontown Monmouth Mall LLC, said, “My client intends to vigorously defend the approval.”

McNamara said he will file an answer to the complaint in the near future. He said a status conference between the parties would be held before a trial takes place.

Attorney Andrew Bayer, who represents the Planning Board, did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

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