Birchwood Developer Denied Motion
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 1:11 PM
Cranford Development Associates referred to the road elevation step as “integral” and “urgent,” explaining that it was important that it be heard before the public hearing next week.
“A failure by Cranford to consent to the road improvement would have the effect of fully stymieing construction of the development authorized by the Court in its Order of December 9, 2011,” the motion read.
The developer also told the court that plans and supporting data for the road elevation project were submitted to the township eight weeks ago, but that the township has not acted.
Township officials opposed the motion, indicating that the matter should not be handled by the court.
“We believe this a DEP matter and should not be before the court,” Township Attorney Phil Morin told reporters. “The CDA is trying to make an end run around the DEP authority.”
Superior Court Judge Lisa Chrystal denied the motion, referring it to the case’s special hearing officer, Douglas Wolfson, to be heard at the Aug. 8 and 9 public hearing. Wolfson is expected to make a recommendation on whether or not the elevation should be required of the township.
Despite concerns about its location (the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth) and timing (10 a.m. on a Wednesday and Thursday), next week’s hearing is expected to draw large crowds of residents, who have voiced strong opposition to the development since it was proposed.
Additionally, the project’s site plan recently drew criticism from various local departments, including the engineering, zoning and fire departments, all citing issues they foresee if the development were to proceed as planned. The Cranford Environmental Commission has also come out strongly against it, citing the effect it could have on flooding in the region and the site plan’s call to remove close to 300 mature trees from the property.