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by Ron Davis
Efforts to block expansion of Heritage Shopping Center in Pineville, N.J., have apparently fallen short of the desired goal.
The opponent of the expansion, which is planned at the location in South Brunswick, is the owner of a competing retail complex. That complex is located within a mile of the Pineville property.
The opponent contends that approval by local government of the expansion would be an illegal act. That’s because, the opponent argues, the project would require construction of a stream corridor of a detention basin and retainer. And such construction, the opponent added, would be prohibited under current rules and regulations,
The opponent also argued that approval of the project, as proposed, would require removal of native vegetation from the nearby stream corridor. Plus, he added, the plans fail to incorporate nonstructural management strategies. As such, that would be a violation of local regulations.
The history of the area at the heart of the dispute goes back some 15 years. During that time, Heritage built a large and prosperous shopping center on a 45-acre portion of its land.
More recently, the center owners made that decision to expand the size and overall surrounding area of mall. When they presented the plans for expansion and after reviewing additional information from various sources, the result was a backing of the expansion plans. A report noted that with a few minor exceptions, the center owners had complied with local requirements. Those exceptions were eventually resolved.
In response to the agreement, the opponent then took another approach. The opponent argued that as a result of that report, local commissioners went so far as to allow retaining walls and detention basins in the local streams corridor. Such additions would in fact be a violation. It became apparent that the opponent simply wasn’t giving up easily, however. They further argued that agreeing with the Heritage plan, local authorities were acting unlawfully.
But that position was not in agreement with the findings. “We determined,” said the presiding judge, “that Pineville…violated no legislative policies expressed or implied”
(Pineville Brunswick Development Associates, concerning block 82, lot I5.o2 in the Township of South Brunswick)
Decision: July 2016
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