Thursday, September 3, 2015

Citizen files suit to compel Zoning Officer to enforce the Zoning Code.

Updated on March 21,  2016.  Click here.

A Bridgewater Township (Somerset County) man has filed suit against the Township's zoning official seeking to compel her to enforce the Township's zoning ordinance against his neighbor.

In his lawsuit, Thomas Coulter v. Zoning Officer Marie L. Broughman, et al., Docket No. SOM-L-279-15, Coulter alleges that a property that abuts his "is littered with dead and dying trees, stumps, roots and obnoxious growths."  He claims that the presence of the dead vegetation "tends to depress the aesthetic value of the neighborhood" and constitutes "a clear violation of the [Bridgewater Township] Code."

Coulter claims to have repeatedly asked Township Zoning Officer Marie L. Broughman to enforce the Code.  According to the lawsuit, Broughman sent him a two-sentence letter on February 9, 2015 in which she said that the Code "is not intended to be applied to fallen trees resulting from a hurricane."

Broughman filed a motion to dismiss the complaint but that attempt was rebuffed by Assignment Judge Yolanda Ciccone on May 29, 2015.  The next action currently scheduled for the case is a Case Management Conference on December 8, 2015.  Coulter is represented by Robert J. Beacham of Nee Beacham in Hillsborough and Broughman is represented by Alexander G. Fisher of the Mauro, Savo, Camerino, Grant & Schalk law firm in Somerville.