Zappone v. Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency of the Town of Woodbury
A plaintiff may appeal the denial of his original application for site plan approval, even if he filed an amended application that also was denied. The plaintiff, Joseph Zappone, filed an application with the defendant inland-wetlands agency and requested approval of his site development plan to construct a residence. The original application was denied, and the plaintiff filed a second application, which also was denied. The plaintiff appealed both decisions. The defendant inland-wetlands agency moved to dismiss and argued that the plaintiff's appeal of the first denial was moot, because the plaintiff filed an amended application. Courts only possess the power to resolve actual controversies. Justiciability requires that: 1.) there be an actual controversy; 2.) the interests of the parties are adverse; 3.) the matter be capable of being adjudicated; and 4.) the decision will result in practical relief to the plaintiff. The court was not persuaded that the plaintiff's appeal was moot. "Here," wrote the court, "the defendant does not contend that the plaintiff has received an approval or permit which would make the instant appeal academic." An actual controversy remains unresolved, and it is capable of being adjudicated and could result in practical relief to the plaintiff, who has not knowingly waived the right to appeal. The court denied the defendant inland-wetlands agency's motion to dismiss.