Search Site
Menu

Appellate Division Confirms Accessory Building’s Unused 80-Year-Old Plumbing Fixtures are Preexisting Nonconformity

Rantz v. Planning Board of the Borough of Bay Head, Docket No. A-2847-19 (App. Div. Sept. 8, 2021)

This month, the Appellate Division upheld the Planning Board of the Borough of Bay Head’s decision to grant a certificate of pre-existing non-conformity, declaring that a backyard accessory structure had plumbing in it for years prior to the homeowners’ purchase.

In Rantz v. Planning Board of the Borough of Bay Head, Docket No. A-2847-19 (App. Div. Sept. 8, 2021), the Appellate Division considered an appeal arguing the non-conformity was improper because plumbing fixtures cannot be nonconforming uses under the Municipal Land Use Law, and even if they could be, the evidence before the Board was insufficient to grant the non-conformity. The homeowners argued that the existing toilet and sink in the accessory structure had been installed before 1940, long before Bay Head’s 2003 zoning regulations were amended to exclude plumbing fixtures in accessory buildings in residential zones other than “clothes washers, dryers, and work sinks.”

The application was strongly contested because the homeowners’ public notice stated their intent to use the building as sleeping quarters for guests, when residential uses are not permitted for accessory buildings in the zone. Plaintiffs argued that bathroom facilities could not be certified because they are too closely related to residential uses. However, the applicants stated they would not use the building for residential purposes. The Appellate Division upheld the Board’s conclusion that the plumbing was a pre-existing non-conformity, noting that the Municipal Land Use Law permits both non-conforming uses and structures, and accepting the building as a non-conforming structure.

Intent to abandon the toilet and sink played a significant role in the decision. Although there was evidence from multiple witnesses that a prior owner had stopped actually using the fixtures, implying possible abandonment of the non-conforming use, a finding of abandonment requires intention to abandon. The Appellate Division upheld the Board’s finding that no evidence showed any owners had ever actually intended to abandon the use of the toilet and sink.

Our Attorneys

Recent Twitter Posts

  • DEP urged to set tough limit on 1,4-dioxane in drinking water. https://t.co/UESauZowsJ
    2 months ago
  • Beach access issue returns in Cape May County beach community, near the location of a similar issue that was litiga… https://t.co/tWOMcfTqwM
    3 months ago
  • Another effort to make the Delaware Water Gap a national park is underway. https://t.co/C00NZ43nZU
    3 months ago
  • New Jersey seeks designation of Lower Hackensack River as a federal Superfund site. https://t.co/czOI3hDNb2
    3 months ago

Recent Blog Posts

Don’t Let a Leaking Heating Oil Tank Ruin Your Life

Every environmental lawyer deals with leaking heating oil homeowner tanks. They are very frightening to homeowners who have never experienced an environmental problem before. Leaking heating oil tanks can cost
Read More
Don’t Let a Leaking Heating Oil Tank Ruin Your Life

Appeals Court Allows Strict Liability Claims to Proceed Against Large New Jersey Refinery

For years many New Jersey lawyers understood that the mere storage of petroleum was not an abnormally dangerous activity. That is an important concept because those who engage in abnormally
Read More
Appeals Court Allows Strict Liability Claims to Proceed Against Large New Jersey Refinery

RLUIPA lawsuits and free beach parking

RLUIPA defense counsel took note of a Florida case earlier this year that questioned whether free beach access constituted a sincerely held religious belief under the RLUIPA statute. The case,
Read More
RLUIPA lawsuits and free beach parking

Appellate Division Confirms Accessory Building’s Unused 80-Year-Old Plumbing Fixtures are Preexisting Nonconformity

Rantz v. Planning Board of the Borough of Bay Head, Docket No. A-2847-19 (App. Div. Sept. 8, 2021) This month, the Appellate Division upheld the Planning Board of the Borough of
Read More
Appellate Division Confirms Accessory Building’s Unused 80-Year-Old Plumbing Fixtures are Preexisting Nonconformity

In the media

  • Gulf Coast Town Center facing foreclosure

    Naples Daily News, September 16, 2015

    Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 against an affiliate of CBL & Associates, the owners of the decadeold, 1.2 million-square-foot mall in south Fort Myers for a $190.9 million unpaid loan. The center has 94 stores on 204 acres, with such anchors as Super Target, Belk, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and Costco...

    Read More
  • Town liable for private company's leaking underground tanks, court rules

    NJ.com Jul 26, 2017

    CRANFORD -- A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially ...

    Read More
  • Dark Waters: How a Class Action Catapulted NJ to Forefront of 'Forever Chemicals' Battle

    NJ Law Journal Jan 09, 2020

    As property owners become increasingly aware of PFAS contamination, and as individuals exposed to PFAS learn of the health risks associated with exposure, liability will likely affect entire supply chains.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
Contact Our Firm

Quick Contact Form