Cheryl Hehl, Staff Writer
August 22, 2012
CRANFORD — Although the township has been fighting the Birchwood Development for years, in the end taxpayers end up footing the legal bill that grows day by day. However, the township stands strongly behind this effort and does not intend to back down. Regardless of the cost.
Later, the Mt. Laurel doctrine, a controversial judicial interpretation of the New Jersey State constitution, laid out exactly what towns could and could not do when it came to fulfilling their affordable housing obligation. This doctrine required that municipalities, like Cranford, use their zoning powers in an affirmative manner to provide realistic opportunities for the production, or development, of housing for low and moderate income people.
Unfortunately, although the township discussed and even planned multiple times to satisfy their affordable housing obligation, they failed to solidify those plans and follow through. This led to the builders remedy lawsuits and more than a half million in legal costs as a result.
As of the end of May, McKenzie had sent the township $78,940.94 in bills since 2009. It should be noted that this amount reflects Cranford’s portion of the special master’s charges, in addition to other legal charges levied against the township.