MILLBURN, NJ -- Alexander McDonald, Millburn Township Business Administrator, announced that the 24-year court battle with Stop & Shop ended with a dismissal before the pending trial commenced. Originally, Millburn Township and the Board of Adjustments faced four separate suits, which was consolidated into one case for trial.
McDonald stated: "This has been a very long and determined fight on the part of the Township by numerous successive Township Committees and we are very gratified that it has concluded in this fashion with all of the actions and enactments taken by the Township over time now remaining in effect, despite 24 years of legal challenges having been unsuccessfully waged against them."
The conversion of the property along Millburn Avenue that was the old home of Saks was approved by Springfield, but Millburn Township cited numerous negative impact factors as grounds for opposition. The increased traffic and the diversion of all tractor-trailers along Millburn Avenue topped the Township's complaints.
Christopher "Kit" Falcon, Millburn Township Attorney, received notification from the counsel for Stop & Shop that they were withdrawing the case per direction from their client. Millburn has fought the proposed project in the Law Division of the Superior Court, the Appellate Division, the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Essex County Planning Board and before the Essex County Board of Freeholders over the course of 24 years.
McDonald outlined five positive, immediate impact points for the township in a press release.
1) The ordinances adopted by the Township Committee over the years to safeguard the Township's interests, and which were challenged in these proceedings, remain in place and in effect;
2) The denial of Stop & Shop's application by the Millburn Board of Adjustment remains undisturbed;
3) The Millburn Avenue road widening right of way repeatedly sought by Stop & Shop from Essex County, and resisted by Millburn, has not been obtained;
4) Although the site is almost entirely within Springfield, whatever future use comes to be made of it will be subject to Millburn's land use controls if the proposed use involves access from Millburn into the site.
5) The cost for the trial, and likely appeals thereafter, in terms of legal services, planning expert testimony, traffic expert testimony, and engineering which had been anticipated in the 2018 budget are now avoided.