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Developer files lawsuit against Howell following denial of warehouse plan

HOWELL – An applicant that sought approval to build 1.2 million square feet of warehouse space on Randolph Road in Howell and had its proposal denied by the Planning Board has instituted legal action in the matter.

Monmouth Commerce Center, the applicant, and Lawrence Katz and Felix Pflaster, as owners, proposed to construct nine warehouses totaling 1.2 million square feet on a 99-acre parcel on Randolph Road.

Warehouses are a permitted use at the location where they were being proposed.

On Jan. 31, following a series of public hearings during which representatives of the applicant described the project and residents objected to the proposed use in their neighborhood, board members voted to deny the Monmouth Commerce Center application.

On May 21, Monmouth Commerce Center’s representatives filed a legal complaint in state Superior Court, Freehold, naming the township, the Planning Board and the Township Council as defendants.

The legal complaint alleges wrongful denial of site plan approval, erroneous ordinance interpretation, improper denial of a variance, failure to act on requested relief, improper interpretation and application of a tree replacement ordinance, improper application fees and fee ordinance, and failure to grant extended vested rights.

Attorney Jerry J. Dasti, of the firm Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Koutsouris and Connors, Forked River, is representing the township and the Township Council.

Attorney Ronald Cucchiaro, of the Weiner Law Group, is representing the Planning Board.

On July 2, Dasti told the Tri-Town News the Monmouth Commerce Center case is just starting.

“This action won’t go to court for six months, nine months; the complaint was just filed a few weeks ago. As it relates to the township, the essence (of the complaint) is that there were ordinances establishing fees for applicants that were excessive or unreasonable, which we firmly deny. It has been that way for a long, long time,” Dasti said.

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