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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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New Jersey lawyers only. I received a building permit 4

Customer Question

New Jersey lawyers only.
I received a building permit 4 years ago from Avalon, NJ. Good for 5 years. I have started construction and have the home 1/4 completed. A neighbor contacted Avalon and a complained and now they have recinded my building permit. Not because the home is not in the correct place, but because he feels the sub-division that was approved 9 years ago by Avalon and Capra was not legal. I believe there is a NJ Supreme Court ruling that states "once a building permit is issued and money has been spent or the construction has begun the permit cannot be recinded. Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The NJ courts hold that this is reviewed under the theory of equitable estoppel. The NJ courts have held, "Where building permits have been issued and the permittee has commenced construction in accordance with the permit, but an attack is made upon the validity of the permit, the question may ultimately arise in litigation as to whether the municipality is estopped from revoking the permit as a result of the reliance placed thereon by the permittee to his detriment. . . . t should be noted that where the building inspector and the applicant acted in good faith and the inspector's decision that the ordinance allowed issuance of a permit was reasonable and the permittee afterward relied on the permit in good faith, the permit may not thereafter be revoked since it would be inequitable to the property owner
. . . .
The enforcing officer must bear in mind that if a permit is issued and the recipient commences construction or takes other action which is of a substantial nature in reliance on it, the municipality may be estopped from revoking the permit once the error is discovered.
See: William M. Cox, New Jersey Zoning and Land Use Administration, 23-5 at 542, 544 (Gann 2008) as quoted in Lehen v. Atlantic Highlands Zoning Bd. of Adj., 252 N.J. Super. 392 (App. Div. 1991) and also Mott v. Ocean City Zoning Bd. of Adj, (App. Div. 2008) found at http://law.justia.com/cases/new-jersey/appellate-division-unpublished/2009/a1584-08-opn.html.
This is the case law relied upon to prevent revocation of a permit once construction has started pursuant to a permit issued by the board.

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