With Second Notice of Violations at The Boatyard, Developer Sues Stafford, DEP

OVERVIEW: The newly produced marina building at Causeway Marina and The Boatyard is observed in the foreground. A next observe of environmental violations at the web site was issued to the developer earlier this 12 months by the state. (Photograph by Ryan Morrill)
Ongoing function at Causeway Marina and The Boatyard very last summertime following a observe of violation from the state Section of Environmental Defense resulted in a prevent operate purchase being issued by Stafford Township, a 2nd set of violations from the point out company, and a lawsuit filed against the town and point out by the developer.
The next see was issued for ongoing, unresolved and more violations, in accordance to the Jan. 8 letter accompanying the violations. The notice cites 2304 East Bay LLC, Christopher Vernon, sole and managing member, as the responsible social gathering.
Infractions at the web site, located just off the Causeway Bridge procedure to Very long Seashore Island, incorporate violations of the Coastal Area Services Overview Act, the Flood Hazard Area Management Act, the Freshwater Wetland Security Act and the Wetlands Act of 1970, in accordance to the 2nd see of violations.
Matthew N. Fiorovanti, of the Purple Lender-primarily based law firm Giordano, Halleran and Ciesla, Vernon’s attorney of record on the subject, did not react to inquiries as of deadline.
A June 17 inspection of Causeway Marina and The Boatyard by the DEP’s Bureau of Coastal Land Use Compliance and Enforcement observed design of the marina building was ongoing. The inspection also decided further regulated perform had occurred on internet site without having good permit approval from the DEP concerning freshwater wetlands, freshwater wetland transition spots and coastal wetlands, the second recognize mentioned.
Three times afterwards, on June 20, Vernon’s legal professional submitted a response disagreeing with the DEP’s results that Vernon failed to comply with three individual coastal zone administration guidelines and that function carried out in “a regulated waterfront space at or under the necessarily mean superior waterline connected to the marina constructing building and floating homes” was carried out with no allow acceptance from the DEP, the condition doc reads. As a result, no corrective motion approach was proposed, according to the conclusions documented in the second see. The reaction on behalf of Vernon did outline corrective steps that experienced been or would be taken at the web site to fulfill other regulatory prerequisites.
An particular person allow application for CAFRA, waterfront growth as properly as a changeover area waiver for redevelopment was submitted June 30 “to try to legalize some of the done and proposed construction actions on web page,” according to the state doc.
Though the allow software is entire for administrative purposes, such as becoming assigned a file quantity, it unsuccessful to include remedies for all unauthorized work documented in the May well 29, 2020 violations notice, which include the development of the marina developing, the next discover reads.
Meanwhile, in July, DEP staff members, their attorney, Vernon, his authorized illustration and consultants as very well as Stafford Township officials achieved onsite. At that time, DEP employees informed Vernon the new bulkhead created waterward underneath the marina making was in violation, in accordance to the next see.
Stafford Township issued a end construction order July 15, mandating all work to the marina developing stop mainly because of noncompliance with DEP regulations and restrictions. A day afterwards, on July 16, an on the internet application for a standard allow for the building of the bulkhead was submitted and granted.
“The bulkhead is not produced in compliance with this allow by certification. Specially, in get to get the on line permit, the respondent’s agent licensed that the bulkhead was to be changed in put or upland, and there would be no impacts to particular spots. These certifications are not exact. The bulkhead underneath the new marina constructing was replaced waterward of the initial bulkhead alignment, filling and disturbing the intertidal and subtidal shallows exclusive place,” according to the findings.
A July 28 visible inspection of the web page, done from a general public roadway, found although perform on the marina setting up appeared to have been discontinued, perform on a retaining wall, fill materials, landscaping and a new flagpole had been all underway and in violation of the township preparing board approval and CAFRA restrictions.
Stafford Township amended its cease function get for the marina creating, mandating DEP acceptance, according to the second recognize.
In its place, Vernon sued Stafford Township and the DEP in chancery division of Exceptional Courtroom, according to the 2nd detect. The Aug. 13 grievance was filed by Fiorovanti. The go well with, in section, seeks to avoid Stafford Township from vacating creating permits beforehand granted for the marina building.
“It would be severely unfair to punish plaintiff for proceeding in fantastic religion and relying on the township’s distinct perseverance that it was entitled to a building permit. Plaintiff has expended in surplus of $1.5 million in reconstructing the marina building immediately after the township’s design code formal issued building permits and explicitly observed that plaintiff has complied with the PBR and would be pressured to commit substantial sums in purchase to demolish the marina making as demanded by the township,” the grievance explained.
In his Nov. 18 reaction, Dennis M. Galvin, of Davison, Eastman, Munoz and Paone, stated his client, the township of Stafford, had no option but to “issue the halt perform buy in question” after the design official discovered of the DEP’s discover of violations.
“Plaintiff is complicated the interpretation of the DEP in issuing the recognize of violation and the subsequent steps of the township’s design code official in issuing a halt operate purchase. The resolution of approval in this issue essential the plaintiff to get hold of all other required company approvals,” Galvin wrote. “The plaintiff represented to the code formal that it had all the approvals. They took this position as they thought they fulfilled the DEP’s Permit by Rule requirement pursuant to the Coastal Zone Administration guidelines. In reliance of the plaintiff’s representations, the development official issued a permit.”
The make a difference remains ahead of Outstanding Court Choose Theresa A. Cunningham, who denied a motion to dismiss Vernon’s complaint in December, according to a Feb. 3 buy signed by the decide. A status meeting on the proceeding is anticipated to take place in June.
— Gina G. Scala

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