BERNARDS TWP., - Legal settlement agreements with the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and the federal Department of Justice were approved by separate resolutions of the Bernards Planning Board and Township Committee on Tuesday night. The public and press are still awaiting details, as per the agreement.
Mayor Carolyn Gaziano said copies of the settlement will be made available to the pubic and media after the agreements have been executed by all parties. The settlements address separate lawsuits filed by the ISBR and DOJ during 2016 that resulted from the Planning Board's December 2015 denial of plans for the 4,250-square-foot mosque in Liberty Corner.
The announcement on Tuesday night following a second closed-door discussion on the settlement terms. The meeting is scheduled for this week, less than two weeks after the same township officials failed to reach an agreement on whether to settle the lawsuits with the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and the federal Department of Justice, which allege that religious discrimination was the basis for the denial.
During a public session following the May 10 meetings, members of the ISBR said they and their families are seeking a house of worship near their homes, while opponents cited concerns that include increased traffic, the proximity of the Liberty Corner Firehouse, and the impact of a public building on the neighbors and historic Liberty Corner village.
Planning Board members resigned
Planning Board Chairman Jeffrey Plaza, and Planning Board members Paula Axt and Leon Harris had resigned prior to Tuesday night's meeting, township officials confirmed this week.
The mosque is proposed for a building lot of slightly more than four acres at 124 Church St. in Liberty Corner Village.