Millburn Planning Board Debates DPW Relocation and Ordinance Repeal

In a recent meeting held by the Millburn Town Planning Board on March 6th, 2024, the board engaged in a discussion on the potential relocation of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the repeal of ordinance 26423 through proposed ordinance 2662 d24. The focus of the debate centered on the proposed ordinance’s consistency with the township’s master plan and the broader implications of the DPW site’s future, including environmental concerns and police access to critical roads. The board also addressed the question of public meeting formats and the possibility of integrating a zoom option for future sessions.

One notable issue of the meeting was the proposed ordinance 2662 d24, intended to repeal ordinance 26423. The board’s legal advisor outlined the master plan consistency review process and clarified the board’s authority in such determinations. A detailed consistency review memo presented by the board planner stated that the proposed ordinance is not inconsistent with the Township’s master plan. However, members of the board engaged in debate seeking clarification on the ordinance’s consistency, with further explanation provided by the legal advisor.

The potential relocation of the DPW facility emerged as a significant topic, with the board scrutinizing a 2019 feasibility study in the context of new Inland flood regulations by the state of New Jersey. The board raised concerns about the study’s validity given the updated regulations and the lack of thorough evaluation by the township or state authorities. Additionally, discussions unfolded around the potential impact of such a relocation on police access to Old Short Hills Road and whether this was considered during the master plan and Downtown Vision plan processes.

Members delved into the criteria for designating an area as in need of Redevelopment, with some members questioning the initial determination and others advocating for a focus on the repeal of the ordinance. The board also discussed the site’s contamination and its ramifications on water resources, as well as the role of the housing element and fair share plan in the context of Redevelopment.

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The interpretation of what constitutes “not inconsistent” or “substantially consistent” with the master plan was debated, especially in relation to the repeal of ordinance 26423. The conversation included concerns about the DPW’s relocation and its alignment with the intentions of the master plan.

Further, the board touched upon the need for zoning revisions, with the members agreeing to revisit the township’s zoning and ensure planning board representation in the process. The question of allowing a zoom option for future meetings was raised, with the board’s attorney advising against it due to concerns related to the quasi-judicial nature of the board’s hearings on Land Development applications. While the attorney acknowledged there have been no cases of a decision reversal due to hybrid meetings, the potential for due process claims remained a concern.

The meeting concluded without reaching a definitive resolution on the discussed topics. The next meeting was scheduled, and the board intends to address any completed applications at that time.

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Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Annette Romano
Planning Board Officials:
Beth Zall, Gaston Ryan Haupert, Corey Biller, Alison Canfield, Michael Cohen, Debra Nevas, Frank Saccomandi, Sujatha Shanmugasundaram, Srini Vijay, David Cosgrove, Michael Zion, Steven Warner (Board Attorney), Martha Callahan (Township Engineer)

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