Rumored Morale Problems Plague the Cranford Municipal Building
Within a short period of time Cranford employees have quit. A few examples:
Zoning Officer
Township Engineer
Downtown Business & Economic Development Director
Police Chief
Assistant Zoning Officer
Township Clerk
Tax Collector

Planned Development On Birchwood Avenue In Cranford Moves Forward After Judge's Ruling

By Christy Potter, Cranford ChronicleCranford Chronicle
February 07, 2013

The battle over Birchwood took another step forward Tuesday as Judge Lisa Chrystal adopted the recommendations of the hearing officer and set a date for the final hearing on compliance.

Chrystal accepted Special Hearing Officer Douglas Wolfson’s recommendations to approve the site plan and elevation of Birchwood Avenue.

The judge also set April 22 as the date for the final hearing to determine whether Cranford is now in compliance with its affordable housing obligations and has taken all the procedural steps to insure future compliance, according to Philip Morin, who was the township’s attorney until the end of 2012 and is still acting as council on the issue. Morin said the final hearing will also provide a time frame for which the town will be protected from future Mt. Laurel/builder’s remedy litigation.

The site plans, which residents and officials have been fighting for more than a year, call for construction of 360 apartments on the property, including 60 affordable housing units. The plan also calls for a five-story parking garage.

The property is located on a 16-acre tract of land at 215-235 Birchwood Avenue, an area prone to flooding. After Hurricane Irene, the area was submerged in several feet of water, and township committee members have pointed out the safety issues in the area after other bouts of bad weather.

The township has been trying to appeal the judge’s July 2011 decision in a builder’s remedy lawsuit to allow the developer, Cranford Development Associates, to build on the site.

There have been a number of twists and turns along the way, including a township complaint, filed in November 2012, that court-appointed special master Elizabeth McKenzie had shown herself to be biased by declaring herself an “affordable housing advocate.” The judge threw out Cranford’s complaint.

The special master wrote two opinions for the court, first finding that the builder’s remedy was appropriate and then, in December 2010, she issued another report saying although there are some environmental issues at the site, she didn’t find them to be unmanageable.