On January 21, 2003, Robbins filed an application for site plan approval to construct an asphalt plant within the town limits of Hillsborough. Robbins had entered into a contract to purchase the property prior to submitting his application for site plan review, and subsequently he purchased the property. At the time he filed his application, an asphalt plant was a permitted use in a general industrial (GI) district subject to a site plan review. The property on which the asphalt plant was to be constructed was zoned GI. In reliance on the zoning ordinance in effect at the time of his application, Robbins spent approximately $100,000 to engineer and submit a site plan to com- ply with the conditional-use requirements set forth in the ordinance and to prepare for the required public hearings before the Town of Hillsborough Board of Commissioners. Three public hearings were held. The board received evidence but reached no decision. At the close of the third hearing, the board scheduled a fourth hearing. Before the fourth hearing, the board amended the zoning ordinance to temporarily suspend review, consideration, and issuance of permits for manufacturing processes. Robbins's fourth hearing was canceled. Eventually, the suspension became a moratorium on permits until the end of the year. Robbins filed a complaint in Orange County Superior Court, alleging that he was entitled to rely on the language of the zoning ordinance in effect at the time he applied for the permit; that the board violated the law by failing to give notice of a public hearing or hold a public hearing prior to its decision to extend the moratorium; and that the defendant's decision to permanently prohibit asphalt plants was arbitrary and capricious. How should the court decide? Explain your answer.
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