MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Committee acted in the spirit of the season Tuesday evening and gave business people and commuters a price break on parking permit fees for next year.

The governing body originally intended to raise prices $200 for annual permit fees, but after discussion with representatives of the business community, decided to raise the fees by only $100 across the board.

Committee member Theodore Bourke introduced a resolution fixing parking permit fees at $510 annually for commuters and $330 annually for business people, and the committee unanimously passed the measure.

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Bourke thanked business owners Fred Smith and Deborah Gilbert for engaging in what he called a “constructive meeting.” Smith in his capacity as first vice-president of the Millburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce thanked officials for listening to business people’s concerns.

“We support a phased-in approach,” he noted.

Also at the session, the committee heard from the township’s planner, Paul Phillips, regarding a zoning ordinance pertaining to conditional uses and minimum parking requirements for schools and houses of worship in residential zones.

Phillips had made suggestions for revising the ordinance at the request of the committee, following a Superior Court decision earlier this year that the local ordinance violates federal law protecting religious freedom.

The revised ordinance calls for houses of worship to have a minimum of three acres, as specified previously, and sets the same standard for public and private schools. Houses of worship must provide 1 space per 3 seats within the sanctuary or worship hall or 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area, whichever is greater.

With regard to schools, the revised ordinance calls for 2 spaces per classroom for grades K-8 and 3 spaces per classroom for grades 9-12. Places of assembly must provide 1 space per 3 seats or 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area, whichever is greater.

Following Phillips’s presentation, the committee unanimously passed the revised ordinance. 

The meeting was the last for committee member Thomas McDermott, who is retiring after 18 years of service. He served as mayor for a handful of those years.

In his departing remarks, the lifelong resident thanked current and former members of the press, municipal staff members and township attorneys who had guided him.

“My purpose was to stay out of your way, so you could do your job,” he quipped.  

McDermott also thanked the residents, “who’ve put their trust in me,” and his family.

“They’re the ones who sacrificed,” he said.