MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Committee Tuesday night introduced an ordinance amending its zoning regulations regarding houses of worship, schools and other places of assembly in residential areas.
The committee made the changes in response to a ruling last summer by a Superior Court judge that the zoning ordinance violates federal law protecting individuals, houses of worship and other religious institutions from discrimination.
The ruling was triggered by an appeal by the Chai Center for Judaism, which was turned down last year in its bid to build a synagogue at the corner of Old Short Hills Road and Jefferson Avenue. The township’s zoning board decided two combined lots there, totaling 1.8 acres, were too small for the use.
Current ordinance requires lots for houses of worship to have a minimum of 3 acres. The revised ordinance extends that requirement to schools and other places of assembly. In addition, the revised ordinance stipulates parking requirements for schools and places of assembly.
In other business, the governing body introduced an ordinance setting annual fees for parking permits in 2014. The annual permit fee will be $560 for the first car in a household and $650 for each additional car in a household.
Committee member Theodore Bourke explained the fee is being increased by $200, as planned four or five years ago with development of the parking deck in the downtown.
“The price still remains $300 lower than Summit or West Orange,” Burke pointed out.
Another ordinance introduced at the session pertains to the use of emergency electrical generators that homeowners are installing for their homes. Those are to be permitted only within a side or rear yard and must be screened from adjacent properties and the street by appropriate fencing or vegetation.
The committee also passed three ordinances. The first authorizes the township to obtain ownership of a small Revolutionary War era graveyard at the corner of White Oak Ridge and Parsonage Hills roads, so as to be able to maintain the grounds and permit the Rolling Hills Garden Club to perform routine upkeep.
The second ordinance puts the owner’s name on documents for a sewer easement, and the third prohibits parking on the roadway leading into Old Short Hills Park.
Also at the session, the committee issued three proclamations. The first of those recognizes resident Steve Suskauer with a Community Service Award. Suskauer, who owned the David Gary art gallery in town, served as president and has been an active longtime member of the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance.
For 20 years he has co-chaired the annual Snowflake Parade in the township and assisted with fundraising for the event. He also served as chairman of the Millburn Farmer’s Market and assisted in setting up sites for other markets in New Jersey.
A second proclamation congratulates the Millburn Free Public Library on its 75th anniversary, offers continued support and invites all citizens to celebrate the milestone at an open house there on Saturday, Nov. 16, between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The last proclamation designates November as Pancreatic Cancer Month in the township.
The proclamation notes that pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and is anticipated to move to the second leading cause by 2020.
Resident Michael Weinstein, a pancreatic cancer survivor who has been actively promoting public policy, research funding, patient services and public awareness and education, was on hand to receive the proclamation.
“It’s so important to get the word out,” he said. “I’m here to do whatever I can.”