BERNARDS TWP., NJ - A Bernards Township Committee meeting scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, with a continuation of public discussion of a proposed Millington Quarry redevelopment plan as part of the agenda has been postponed, according to a Thursday announcement from the Township Clerk's office.
In anticipation of a large crowd, township officials are now looking to reschedule the meeting at either Ridge High School or the William Annin Middle School, the announcement said.
There will be no Township Committee meeting on Monday, Nov. 13. Township Clerk Denise Szabo added there will also be no meeting on Tues., Nov. 14, which would have been the first regularly scheduled Township Committee meeting for November.
Last month's Township Commitee meeting drew an overflow crowd, and elicited scepticism and criticism from the majority of about 30 speakers regarding a draft plan to build 235 homes, offices, retail space, and a hotel on the defunct quarry property on about 180 acres off Stonehouse Road.
The upcoming Township Committee meeting will be relocated because of significant public interest and requests from the public that the meeting be moved to the Ridge Performing Arts Center or the middle school auditorium to accommodate the large number of citizens interested in attending the meeting, the announcement said.
[Updated] Some of the opponents have started a website, Stop the Quarry, outlining their objections and inviting residents to contact the group for further information.
The township is working with the Board of Education to secure a date for this meeting and notification will be made to the public and the press as soon as a date can be confirmed, the announcement said.
The meeting will also include information on the process going forward on any redevelopment at the quarry, the announcement said.
The Township Committee plans to have experts representing the developer present to address questions which have been raised. Members of township staff, as well as consultants the township has used at the quarry in the past will be present.
Bernards Township Mayor Carolyn Gaziano said after last month's meeting that the reclamation of the Millington Quarry has been under discussion before the Township Committee for nearly two years.
Following initial discussions, both the Township Planning Board and Township Committee gave a stamp of approval to the concept of conducting the redevelopment process under s state plan that "affords the Township and its residents the opportunity to largely determine how the site will be developed."
Many concerns expressed at October meeting
Along with expressing concern about environmental issues on the property and its impact on schools and the town's finances, many of the residents who spoke in October said they did not want to see such a project in Basking Ridge.
Former Mayor Al LiCata, who also was chair of a former quarry task force, advised the Township Committee to return to "start from scratch." He added, "That was a great plan...if this was New Brunswick."
Among the questions that he and other speakers raised was whether more retail and hotel space is needed in Bernards Township. He and others pointed out there are numerous town centers or shopping areas with vacancies, including Dewy Meadow Village off King George Road.
Some residents speaking that night praised plans to build affordable housing for disabled adults who might already live in town part of the project. Others said they looked forward to a proposed community with some downtown amenities.
The suggestion was also made that the township should contact Somerset County and consider preserving the tract as open space.
The Board of Education is also following the unfolding of plans for the quarry development to track its anticipated impact on local schools.
For updates on the meeting time, date and place, residents are encouraged to check the township website, the town’s Facebook’s and Twitter Feeds, and local PEG Channels, Cablevision Channel 15 and Verizon Channel 35. Residents can also subscribe to receive email blasts for various township announcement and news events on the website.