Last year, after Foulke argued that the proposed car dealership would be a ''less intensive" use than office buildings, the township approved a use variance to allow the commercial operation adjacent to the exclusive neighborhood of Lakeview.
The Lakeview Civic Association sued the township and Foulke, contending that the variance was inappropriately granted. Ann Pearl, the residents' attorney, said the township erred by granting the variance because Foulke did not demonstrate a "special reason" for using the land for something it was not zoned for or prove that his proposal would somehow serve the general welfare.
Lowengrub agreed and reversed the township's decision.
"We think the judge made a mistake," Vogelson said yesterday. "The next step is to proceed to the Appellate Division of Superior Court."
Since Foulke proposed the dealership two years ago, Lakeview residents have opposed him at every turn - before the zoning board, the Township Council and finally in court.
They argued that the dealership would lower property values in their neighborhood, increase traffic and set a precedent for commercial encroachment on the east side of town.
Michael Saperstone, president of the Lakeview Civic Association, said that he was not surprised by Foulke's decision to appeal but that he believed that the residents had the law on their side.
"We are prepared to defend ourselves in any appeal," he said. "We are totally confident . . . that the lower court's decision will stand."