Westfield Leader Editorial
Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cranford residents have faced a lot of adversity since Hurricane Irene caused million of dollars of damage last August. These days, residents are concerned as builders try to ram through high-density housing developments with the assistance of the courts. Residents have been attending site plan hearings the past two weeks at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth concerning the proposed 360-unit Birchwood development after a Superior Court judge ruled against the township in its effort to stop the development. Another slap in the face is that the Cranford Planning Board has not been allowed to participate in these hearings. The township is also said to have reached an agreement on the proposed development by Lehigh Acquisitions Corporation at 555 South Avenue East, where the developer wants to build a three-story structure with 163 rental housing units of which 24 would be for affordable housing. We have been told that Woodmont Properties is purchasing 555 South Avenue. Then there is the 127-unit Riverfront development currently under construction on South Avenue across from the Cranford Train Station. The Birchwood and 555 South Avenue developments are both part of builder remedy lawsuits brought by the developers against Cranford. The efforts of the Rahway River Watershed to develop a long-term solution for towns along the Rahway River, such as Cranford, Millburn and Rahway, may be for naught if these housing plans keep getting rammed through by the bullying courts. In our opinion, local elected officials, not the courts, should be making decisions on the future of Cranford.