BERNARDS TWP.,  NJ - Friends of Stop the Quarry Plan has retained legal counsel to support its quest to stop the proposed redevelopment plan for the 183-acre defunct Millington Quarry.

Friends retained Jay Bohn, a land use attorney at Schiller, Pittenger & Galvin.

The opposition group says it has more than 1,350 signatures on a petition to stop the current plan to present at the Tuesday, Jan. 9  Bernards Township Committee meeting. The Friends are prepared to take legal action to prevent the zoning change ordinance from passing, reads a statement from the Friends group.

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The New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club also said it was opposing the redevelopment plan at the quarry because it says it would encourage overdevelopment on a contaminated site.

The plan includes a hotel, housing, restaurants, retail, a farm and a lake that would fill in the deepest quarrying pit on the property. According to the Sierra Club, as a result of 100 years of mining operations and landfill brought in after the closing, the site contains at least 45 acres of confirmed contamination, including fertilizers, lead, aluminum and silver.

“The proposed high-density plan/proposal raises many serious concerns, “the Friends statement reads. The group says it believes there is a lack of adequate testing, monitoring and investigating of the planned lake that not only covers contaminated soils, but now has huge quantities of fertilizer discharging into it.

“Contamination is our foremost concern, but so is the impact on our infrastructure — roads, sewerage, emergency services and of course, our top-rated schools,” says the Friends statement.

Residents have shared potential options for the site, including solar farming and open space that have not been explored and would negate the environmental, sewerage, road and school concerns once remediation is complete.

The Friends statement says it seeks no change in the zoning until full remediation of contamination is verified and options for the site are considered through open dialogue with public input.

“We hired Mr. Bohn, legal counsel, as we are very troubled that since the Nov. 28th Township Committee meeting, the quarry has not been on the agenda for public input,” the statement read.

The members of Friends of STQP are residents of Bernards Township who support no zone change at the Millington Quarry until they are assured “it is indisputably verified to be environmentally safe.”

The group says any future development plans “should honor the stewardship practices as defined by Bernards Township’s Master Plan as well as be environmentally safe, fiscally responsible and preserve the small-town quality of life in Basking Ridge.”

The group has a website at www.stopthequrryplan.com and can be reached through info@stopthequarryplan.com.