Government

Township Council Approves Memorandum of Understanding for the "Land Swap" To Full Room

7bc597edc4495faa67d4_DSCN8177.JPG
Council approves the Resolution authorizing Memorandum of Understanding with Little Flower Church at Tuesday evening's meeting. Credits: Bobbie Peer
92e8f5fff9b166f76701_DSCN8178.JPG
Credits: Bobbie Peer
65761a1a4be6d625b9da_DSCN8182.JPG
Mayor Joe Bruno with resident Carol Matula. Credits: Bobbie Peer
7bc597edc4495faa67d4_DSCN8177.JPG

Updated July 10, 2014 at 8:44 p.m.

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - This week's Township Council meeting drew a larger than usual crowd to the Municipal Complex Tuesday evening. A Resolution was voted on authorizing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Township of Berkeley Heights and the Church of the Little Flower for the exchange of land known as the "Library Property" and the "Little Flower Property."

The intent of this memorandum is the "first step" to proceed with community discussions regarding the opportunity of the "land swap" and the impact it has to the community said Councilman Kevin Hall.  It has been determined that the land was available to gain access, and the memorandum has been created to provide contingencies allowing the township the ability to "take a step back" if the "land swap" doesn't make sense. 

Sign Up for E-News

The land swap addresses many infrastructure issues that the township has not been able to address over the past 10 years due to economics, Hall explained.  

Hall continued that they want the flexibility to act in good faith and open the dialog. "We want to seriously entertain this land swap and investigate for the community. Little Flower has agreed with this flexibility," said Hall.

Hall identified examples of possible contingencies that are included in the memorandum -- the agreement with the library for the utilization of the statutory millage and sharing budget dollars; issues of litigations; and other due diligence. "All of these are contained in this agreement. We are dealing in good faith and we want to move forward and investigate for the community."  

Hall explained that there will be a range of public hearings that will talk about the framework regarding each of the specific items involved. One of the hearings will relate specifically to the dialog between the Township and the Little Flower parish and the evaluation of each of these properties.   There will be a complete discussion of what was the overall methodology and how they came up with the conclusion of the fair value of the deal.

It is an understanding that this memorandum is not a contract but merely the understanding to proceed.

Resident Tom Foregger approached the council regarding discrepancies in the two appraisal reports and wanted the opportunity to discuss prior to the vote that would lock in the $2.8 million difference between the value of the "Library Property" and the "Little Flower Church Property".  Foregger stated that this is the appropriate time to ask if this is the right number - if the evaluations are correct. "There are significant differences with the two evaluations that were used to come up with the $2.8 differences," said Foregger.  

Hall responded stating there is a difference in logical approaches used in appraisals. "There are different definitions and subsequent dialog between the appraisers and an agreement of what to use. This will be discussed openly and completely during the public hearings in the future," said Hall.

A specific methodology used in the appraisal process was followed. "We have to follow specific methods to come to a conclusion on behalf of the community.  We feel very confident that this number can be defended openly," said Hall.  

Resident Carol Matula has objected to the "Land Swap" and is in current litigation with the township. Her primary objection is that the majority of the members of the council have close connections to the Little Flower Church, including Council President Jeanne Kingsley who Matula stated has held an officer position with the church while the negotiations were moving forward.

Matula brought up the reverter clause that states that there is very limited use of the church property. The only people that can use this land are people that want to use the land for educational institution purposes. "Given the small number of people that would ever want to use that land, it limits the marketability," said Matula. "There is no way that the lot is worth anywhere near the $4 million."  She further discussed her dissent of the agreed upon appraisal value.   

Township Attorney Joseph Sordillo asked the council not to comment due to current litigation. 

The council voted five in favor and Councilman Ed Delia opposed the resolution. 

A more formal schedule with respect to public hearings will be available at the next council meeting being held on Tuesday, July 22. The first of the public hearings will discuss the strategic framework and concept of the moving parts and subsequent hearings will focus on the specific elements and the final hearing will be the executive summary including public input.  The hearings will be video taped and available at the library. Relevant points will be available on the township website and published through TAP into Berkeley Heights. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Caregiver Conference Sunday, Feb. 25, Focuses on Caregiver's Needs

February 22, 2018

 

Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, (JFSCNJ) a non-sectarian health and social service agency, will be hosting a Caregiver Conference called, “Caring for a Loved One While Being Mindful of Your Own Needs,” from 10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, Halpern Building, 655 Westfield Ave. Elizabeth.  

 The Conference, ...

Caregiver Conference Sunday, Feb. 25, Focuses on Caregiver's Needs

 

Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, (JFSCNJ) a non-sectarian health and social service agency, will be hosting a Caregiver Conference called, “Caring for a Loved One While Being Mindful of Your Own Needs,” from 10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, Halpern Building, 655 Westfield Ave. Elizabeth.  

 The Conference, ...

'RAD Kids' Program Continues to Grow; Fundraiser Set for Feb. 24 in Summit

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Begun two years ago by just a few families whose parents were seeking a safe space for their children to play and, according to group organizers, "meet other kids like them," 'RAD Kids' -- as the group is now known -- has become a safe space for gender-fluid children in North Jersey. 

“We’re now serving ...

Union County Magnet High School to Hold Silent Auction

A great night out with family and friends for just $10.  And we provide dessert and coffee/tea.

Please come to the Magnet High School PSA Silent Auction on Friday, Feb. 23, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Union County Vocational Technical School in Scotch Plains (West Hall Cafeteria). 

Tickets are only $10. You can then bid on over $12,000 worth of ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Carousel_image_b59229b3972266545812_magnet_fundraising_auction_2018_flyer_0219

Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sat, February 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Municipal Court Room/Council Chambers, BERKELEY HEIGHTS

Return Berkeley Heights Public Library's Books, ...

Other

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...