“Standing” Up for Yourself: Landowner Can Appeal Denial of Use Variance When a Contract Purchaser Filed the Variance Application

Agreements for the sale of real property are commonly contingent upon the contract purchaser’s obtaining some sort of development approval. If the approval is not granted, the contract purchaser can walk away from the deal. But what if the landowner wants to challenge the denial? Does the landowner have a sufficient interest in the dispute to step into the contract purchaser’s shoes? Last month, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court answered in the affirmative. In Campus Associates, L.L.C. v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Township of Hillsborough, No. A-0690-08T2, — N.J. Super. — (App. Div. June 4, 2010), the court held that a landowner can appeal the denial of a use variance that was sought by a contract purchaser, as long as the application depended on property-specific proofs, and not on factors unique to the applicant.