SHORT HILLS, NJ – GOP candidate for Millburn Township Committee Agnes Sym met with 20 Millburn/Short Hills residents to listen to concerns, ideas and suggestions about several local issues. The two-hour breakfast gathering was hosted at the Short Hills home of Jeff and Connie Kulikowski last week.
Chief among the issues is the Woodland Road development, a 62-unit residential complex to be built across from the Short Hills train station in the Glenwood section of Millburn Township. The mixed-income complex has upset many residents due to the size and scope of project, the potential impact to nearby Glenwood Elementary School and traffic/pedestrian safety and density.
Attendees expressed the same level of disappointment and frustration that was expressed by many residents at a September 17th meeting when the Township Committee passed a settlement agreement ordinance with the Silverman Group, Woodland Road builder. Mayor Dianne Eglow, Deputy Mayor Jackie Lieberberg and Committeeman Sam Levy voted FOR the settlement. Committeewoman Cheryl Burstein was recused from discussions and voting. Committeewoman Tara Prupis voted AGAINST the settlement.
The adopted ordinance approves the settlement agreement between the Township and the Silverman Group, allowing them to build the 62-unit complex on the Woodland site.
“During the public comment portion of the meeting [on September 17th], I strongly urged this committee to get a second legal opinion, especially from someone who has experience defending municipalities against builders, and not rush into settlement agreement without allowing residents more opportunities to voice our concerns. The massiveness of this development does not fit within the character of that neighborhood and does not serve the best interests of our residents” said Agnes Sym. “I understand that the Committee is in a tough situation but because such an overwhelming number of Millburn Township residents do not want this development, we need to see if we can explore more viable options that could satisfy the will of our residents and the Silverman Group.”
According to the Affordable Housing Timeline/Summary issued by the Township of Millburn, “Between April, 2017 and January, 2018, no further proposed changes to their plans were offered by Silverman representatives or considered by Township representatives. This led to correspondence from Silverman’s Counsel to request a response from the Township as to the earlier discussions and to complain of delay….On April 16, 2018, Silverman filed the current Builder’s Remedy Lawsuit against the Township, three days prior to the Township’s filing of its Declaratory Judgment action.”
Pedestrian safety in residential areas of town was voiced by several attendees. Residents cited examples of high-speed traffic on their neighborhood streets, where the speed limits are being ignored by drivers. Parents, who have children that are bused to school, voiced concerns over the lack of stop signs that may potential slow down traffic in their neighborhoods.
“As I have two elementary aged children, I, too, have concerns about vehicular speeding, particularly in our residential areas where children ride their bikes, wait for school buses and where our neighbors walk on roads in absence of sidewalks.” Agnes Sym responded. “We have to continue to urge our Township Committee to listen to our concerns and take the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety. Pedestrian safety has been an on-going issue in our town for several years. Though downtown Millburn has seen a significant decrease in pedestrian accidents, our neighborhoods need solutions immediately.”
Editor's Note: In the interest of full transparency, Agnes Sym is married to Jonathan Sym, owner of the TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills and TAPinto Springfield. All candidates were provided an equal opportunity to advertise on TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills. TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills Editor Matt Kass reports on all government and political news and Jonathan Sym is not involved in any manner in such coverage. Like all TAPinto local news sites, TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills is required to be objective, follow the Society of Professional Journalists ethical code, have no editorial page, and follow all ethics and transparencies policies of TAPinto, which can be read here: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/berkeley-heights/articles/tapinto-reaffirms-strong-commitment-to-objectivity-and-transparency-63