CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham Township Committee unanimously introduced an amendment to its land-use ordinance that would effectively prohibit the construction of an oil pipeline in any zone in the township at its regular meeting held Thursday night.
The amended ordinance, which will be up for adoption on April 23, is the first such ordinance put forth by a New Jersey community to prohibit the Pilgrim Pipeline. The proposed oil pipeline would run from Albany, N.Y. to Linden and back, cutting through Chatham Township and other communities.
The Chatham Township Planning Board will review the land-use amendment to make sure it coincides with the town's master plan before it will be voted on for adoption. The public will have a chance to weigh in with the planning board and the township committee before it is adopted.
The wording of the ordinance was researched by Albert Cruz, township attorney, who concentrated on the "unregulated" status of a possible oil pipeline.
Mayor Kevin Sullivan gives background on how the amendment was crafted
"Pipelines that are not public utilities that distribute services to end users that are unregulated by the state Board of Public Utilities are prohibited in all zoning districts," Mayor Sullivan said in reading the proposed amendment.
Mayor Kevin Sullivan reads the land-use amendment into the record
Albert Cruz, township attorney, explains the legal aspects of the land-use amendment
Thomas Ciccarone, township administrator, exposes the false reasoning behind the pipeline
Brendan Keating, chairman of Chatham Citizens Opposed to the Pipeline
In other business, the township adopted an ordinance that reduces the open space tax to 1/2 cent. Ever since township residents approved a referendum that established an open space tax, which can go as high as 2 cents, the committee has reviewed it each year and has an opportunity to reduce it by ordinance.
The reduction to 1/2 cent was adopted by a 4-1 vote. Committee member Robert Gallop voted no because he felt a 1 cent tax was more appropriate in order to replenish the open space reserve. Most of money the township had set aside for open space went to the 165-acre purchase of property known as Giralda Farms.
"I think we should tweak it a little bit to make it 1 cent, which I am in favor of this year," Gallop said. "It's a good practice to highlight the issue and make an important decision each year."