BERNARDS TWP., NJ - The year's first regular Bernards Township Committee meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at town hall, and Stop the Quarry opponents are calling for a "peaceful protest" before the meeting begins.
The agenda for the Jan. 9 Township Committee already is posted on the township website. The agenda does not include a scheduled discussion on a proposal to redevelop the Millington Quarry off Stonehouse Road with more than 200 housing units as well as commercial space.
The meeting is scheduled to be held at town hall at 1 Collyer Lane in Basking Ridge. Stop the Quarry is asking the public to gather at 6:30 p.m.
At the Jan. 2 township reorganization meeting, newly appointed Mayor John Carpenter said he would "sooner rather than later" ask the Township Committee to look again at whether to proceed with a proposal to allow redevelopment of the Millington Quarry with more than 235 homes, and retail and office space, including a hotel. The meeting at which the vote would be addressed would be publicly noticed beforehand, Carpenter said.
A Saturday release from Stop the Quarry noted that the quarry was last formally discussed by the Township Committee at a meeting on Nov. 28. Since then, "no additional information has been shared," the release said. "It’s your right to press for answers. It’s your right to have input and be heard."
Strong opinions, mostly negative, were expressed at the Nov. 28 hearing on a draft proposal that began with a presentation by township officials and by representatives of the developer's investment company, which includes township resident Anthony Splendorio as a principal. However, some residents said the wanted to hear more about the plan, and favored some aspects, such as affordable housing for disabled adults.
The topic had been removed from the Dec. 12 meeting, for which further discussion had tentatively been placed on the agenda, after township officials said that the school venue at which the Nov. 28 meeting had been held was not available that night. Two information sessions on the proposal were held at town hall in early December.
Stop the Quarry's release asked why the Township Committee has been hiring "experts" related to the quarry plan, and also called for answers on whether Millington Quarry would meeting its obligations for rehabilitating and remediating contamination at the 180-acre site.
The release also called for a re-examination of "false statements" that Somerset County is not interested in preserving the site as open space.
However, other commenters at public meetings have described the unimproved quarry as a wasteland in need of major rehabilitation.
Other critics of the plan have asked that the township return to a previous longstanding plan to allow residential development on part of the property with homes sited on two-acre lots.
Stop the Quarry announced in a Dec. 30 press release that in 10 days the group had collected more than $8,000 in donations and had collected more than 1,000 signatures in an online petition calling for the Township Committee to stop the quarry as proposed.