FAR HILLS, NJ -- More than 60 local residents from Far Hills, Bernardsville and Bedminster attended a meeting last Wednesday at the Far Hills Country Day School to discuss the proposed housing development at the intersection of Route 202 and Lake Road.
Potential tax and population increases, transparency issues and the level of communication from the municipal officials were among the topics touched upon.
"The people want answers to basic questions regarding the history of the project, how the decision was made and what the next steps are," reads part of a statement from the resident action committee Preserve Far Hills Inc. "Residents feel that they should be a part of the decision-making process, and that they have been left out thus far."
Stuart Lieberman, the attorney representing Preserve Far Hills Inc., spoke at the meeting and addressed some of the key issues.
Lieberman presented these topics for discussion, which have been included in the Preserve Far Hills release to the media:
"The mayor (Paul Vallone) recently said at the (May 6) Planning Board meeting that the units will be marketed as age restricted, which Preserve Far Hills Inc. supports, but we insist on deed restrictions, not unenforceable marketing promises.
"The municipality claims to be transparent, but misrepresented in writing that this subject would not be discussed at the last planning board meeting (May 6), which caused many residents not to appear, only to change their mind hours before the meeting when it was too late to get the word out.
"They say they want to be transparent but did not provide even one document in our OPRA requests, necessitating a lawsuit. Further, they claim to be open but refuse us any documents regarding the $815,000 to be paid by the chosen property owner.
"They say the meeting with RPM Development went well but refused to allow even one member of our group to participate so that he or she could objectively provide an update.
"They assert they are honest and open but disrespect local residents who have asked fair questions and have even implied empty litigation risks."