Business & Finance

Lake Mohawk Country Club Sues Sparta Planning Board, Jerry Murphy Over Parking Lot Plan

a64ea839a7f928ce173e_IMG_1727.JPG
Sparta Planning Board Credits: Jennifer Dericks
abb5369182442e151d78_IMG_6563.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
50bd4b49fa9339df9f68_IMG_6505.JPG
Stan Puszcz of CP Engineering and Megan Kelly of Kelly & Ward L.L.C. Credits: Jennifer Dericks
a466aa8848536cca63ac_IMG_6558.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
21a5e52f992e34468d8f_IMG_6564.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
969e948af95260f90700_IMG_6562.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
2988f017dd5d67844c5b_IMG_6514.JPG
Plans for the reconfigured parking lot Credits: Jennifer Dericks
a64ea839a7f928ce173e_IMG_1727.JPG

SPARTA, NJ - The Lake Mohawk Country Club has filed a suit against the Sparta Planning Board and Councilman Jerry Murphy.  The papers filed in Sussex County Superior Court on Friday are asking for relief from the 4-4 Planning Board vote that sunk their efforts to charge for parking in the lot on West Shore Trail.

The country club, represented by Kelly & Ward, L.L.C., argued their case to the Planning Board during four hearings that stretched over more than six months.  The last hearing on March 1 began with attorney Megan Kelly and Stan Puszcz of CP Engineering reviewing 11 previous concerns raised by the planning board members.  Each objection was answered or brought to a solution, some incorporated into the language of the proposed motion to approve the parking lot application. 

The country club said they need to make repairs and reconfigure the parking lot across from the club house and adjacent to the tennis courts.  In an effort to cover those and other ongoing costs the country club is seeking to add gates at the entrance and exit to collect a fee for parking in the lot. 

Sign Up for E-News

The fourth hearing went on for hours, even requiring an intermission.

The issue that got Murphy special notoriety in the complaint was due to comments he made during the hearing and a statement he read prior to his vote. 

The statement began, “Public officials are not required to give reasons for voting one way or another, but in the interest of transparency I would like to have the public be made aware that the Economic Development Committee discussed this proposed plan…” Murphy read the statement that preceded his “no” vote. 

Murphy, by his own admission, sought input from the township’s business community in formulating his vote.  That is objectionable according to the filing, because rather than base his vote on facts on record from the hearings in front of the Planning Board and the townships land use ordinances, Murphy solicited and used the opinion of members of the Economic Development Committee to decide his vote.

The suit says Murphy erred in doing so because the Economic Development Committee was not party to nor did they give testimony in the matter.  

The compliant quotes from minutes of the Economic Development Committee for December 12, 2016 and January 12, 2017 where the country club application was discussed. 

The filing reiterates the case presented to the Planning Board; relevant land use ordinances, previous applications and agreements between the Lake Mohawk Country Club and Sparta Township regarding the parking lot. 

The complaint claims, based on Sparta Township Land Use ordinances and other precedent setting agreements between the township and the country club, the Planning Board does not have the jurisdiction or “legal authority to mandate the use of this private property for public use…” Further the “…Board was obsessed with LMCC’s decision to charge a modest sum for non-members to use its parking lot.”

Included in the complaint are many quotes from the final hearing on the topic of how much would be charged for parking.

The suit requests relief by eliminating Murphy's vote, calling his actions “improper and adversely affecting the… vote and outcome of LMCC’s application.”  Doing so would give them a winning 4-3 vote, allowing for the implementation of the parking lot plan.

They further ask for the Sparta Planning Board to reimburse the Lake Mohawk Country Club for expenses, professional fees, attorney fees and costs of the suit, along with “other such relief as the Court deems just and reasonable.”

Attorney Kevin Kelly declined further comment for now, saying “everything is in the complaint.”

Murphy and Planning Board Committee Chairman Ernest Hofer did not respond in time for publication.  Hofer voted “yes” on the application. 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Sparta

Sparta Police: Speeding Stop Ends with Lost Driver Charged with DWI

June 22, 2018

SPARTA. NJ – A Newark man who thought he was heading to Atlantic City only won a trip to the Sparta Police Department headquarters after being stopped for speeding.  On June 18 around 3 a.m. Cpl. Kurt Morris stopped Manuel Pinheiro, 48, for driving 84 MPH in a 55 MPH zone on Route 15 south, police said.

When Morris spoke with Pinheiro the officer smelled alcohol coming from the ...

Sparta Police: Byram Woman's Broken Light Ends in Drug Charges

SPARTA, NJ – A Byram woman is facing drug charges having been stopped for a broken headlight on White Lake Road.  On June 15 Abigail Carkhuff, 22, was pulled over by Police Officer Brian Porter around 10:40 p.m. police report.

When Porter spoke with Carkhuff the officer smelled marijuana in the car.  A search of the grey Ford Escape turned up a ziplock bag of marijuana and a ...

Sparta Police: Speeding Stop Nets Drug Charges for Two Brooklyn Men

SPARTA, NJ – Two men from Brooklyn, New York stopped for speeding are facing drug charges.  On June 16 around 11 a.m. Sparta Police Officer Thomas Herd pulled over a grey Toyota Rav4 driven by David Mai, 20 going 95 MPH in a 55 MPH zone, police said.

When Herd spoke with the Mai, the officer smelled marijuana in the car. Mai said he had pot in his backpack.  Sparta Police ...

Sparta High School Time Capsule

June 20, 2018

To the editor: 

For this year’s AP project in our English class, we have put together a 2018 Sparta High School time capsule to be opened in 25 years. The capsule, likely to be buried next to the garden behind the school, will contain student testimonies, memes, and other relics of our time. Hopefully with this project we hope to preserve our unique experience of teenage ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, Morristown

CASA Information Session

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Vasa Park, Hackettstown

Midsommar at Vasa Park

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Carousel_image_a567a59640ee87a05151_boe_sign__2_

Mon, June 25, 5:30 PM

Mohawk Avenue School, Sparta

Sparta Board of Education Meeting UPDATED

Education

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 30, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, July 7, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_ace2e0a21a0268782288_sparta_historical_society

Sun, July 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_dc175377b12fc03a60a8_toni4

Sun, July 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Arts & Entertainment

Sussex Stags Football Team to Hold Fourth Annual Golf Outing

June 16, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The Sussex County Stags will be holding their fourth annual gold outing on Saturday June 23.

Arrival time is 11:30 a.m. at the Minebrook Golf Club located at 500 Schooleys Mountain Road in Hackettstown. Golfing will begin at 1 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online at www.sussexstags.com.

Tickets are $125 per person and include the following: golfing, the cart, an all you ...

Update: Police Break Up Fight Involving 40-50 People at Bridgewater Commons Mall

June 15, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported in an incident that shut down Bridgewater Commons Mall Thursday evening after a fight involving a crowd of 40-50 people.

Police are still investigating unconfirmed reports of shots being fired, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

The mall is closed for the evening as the investigation continues.

Somerset County ...

5 Home-Related To-Do’s Before Leaving On Vacation

With school out and the summer sun shining down, thoughts turn to summer vacation trips.  Team Nest Builder offers these 5 home-related tips to follow to avoid everything from minor inconveniences to major headaches upon your return:

Pause Your Post & Paper

Piled up mail and newspapers act like a “rob me” sign!  Avoid tipping off strangers to your absence by ...

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home in New Jersey, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, Team Nest Builder wants to make certain that everyone understands that now is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. This graph from their report shows rent increases from 1988 ...

5 Fab Father's Day Happenings in Sussex & Morris Counties

Father’s Day hits this Sunday--what do YOU have planned? Team Nest Builder offers a slew of Father’s Day fun in Morris and Sussex County. Read on and surprise Dad with cool activities! (Be sure to check if registration is required prior to showing up!)

Alstede Farms' Father's Day Brunch – Chester

From 9am-noon, take a scenic hayride to a brunch buffet that offers ...

Don't Miss Sunday's OPEN HOUSE for 4BR Sparta Mountain Beauty

Perched handsomely on an acre in the beautiful SpartaMountain community, 28 Waters Edgeoffers a 4BR 2.5 Bathroom home with space and style. Come see for yourself this Sunday, June 17th, from 1-3pm at our OPEN HOUSE!

Located in the prestigious Sparta Mountain Reserve, this large, beautiful center hall colonial with open floor plan has a nice, level play yard with direct ...

Days on The Housing Market Drops to New Low

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes remained on the market for under a month.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, opined,

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this ...

Pass It Along Triathlon

Tri-something new this July and sign up for the Pass It Along Triathlon!

The 9th annual Pass It Along Triathlon will take place on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at the Lake Mohawk Country Club. This triathlon features two USAT-certified courses - Olympic and Sprint. This triathlon has become a Sparta tradition and everyone is welcome to attend to cheer on athletes and be a part of the ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

June 13 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting

NEWTON, NJ - The June 13 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting video.

 

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019 and Awards 13 Grants to 11 Local Community Non-Profit Organizations

June 22, 2018

Susan G. Komen North Jersey Increases Program Funding by 15% for 2018-2019

and Awards 13 Grants to 11 Local Community Non-Profit Organizations

June 21, 2018  – Susan G. Komen North Jersey announced that it will award a total of 13 grants to 11 local community non-profit organizations in its nine-county service area for 2018-2019, with an increase in total program funding at 15% ...