This proposed 16,350 square foot house of worship would require
65% more land than owned to meet the legal requirements.
The structure would be too big, too high, too wide, too close to neighbors,
and without a major variance, would not be legal.

Contributions can be made to:
Connell Foley LLP
Attorney Trust Account
Please mail check to:
Connell Foley LLP
85 Livingston Avenue
Roseland NJ 07068,
Attn: Kevin J. Coakley
(Funds only distributed with consent of the Association's trustees)

Calendar of Events

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Thursday March 1, 2012, 2:02 AM

BY LINDSEY KELLEHER

STAFF WRITER - The Item of Millburn and Short Hills

 

Millburn Zoning Board attorney Gail Fraser is preparing a resolution that will memorialize the board’s decision to reject the Chai Center site plan application which occurred during its Feb. 13 meeting. Board members made the decision because they felt the combined lot size of 1 and 7 Jefferson Ave. was undersized by 40 percent or 1.2 acres for the proposed synagogue.

"It never fit," said board member Mary McNett during the Feb. 13 meeting.

 

According to McNett, the building would have been squeezed into the site even with the buffers and front yard setback variances for Jefferson Avenue and Old Short Hills Road discussed during previous Chai Center hearings.

 

Many people in town followed the case closely since its beginning in April 2010. More than 200 people attended the final Chai Center hearing on Feb. 13, and more than 40 spoke before the board, giving their reasons about why they believed a house of worship should or should not be constructed on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Old Short Hills Road.

 

So, what’s next for the Chai Center?

 

Rabbi Mendel Bogomilsky told The Item of Millburn and Short Hills last Friday that he is consulting with his attorneys about the next steps he should take involving the case.

 

In an email obtained by The Item sent to his congregants on Feb. 14, Bogomilsky said the Chai Center will be filing an appeal in State court for the zoning actions, and taking action in Federal court against the township’s ordinance requiring 3 acres to construct a house of worship. Bogomilsky stated in the email the requirements are "unequal on their face in the way that they treat secular assembly more leniently than religious assembly. Specifically, they require two acres for schools and three acres for houses of worship."

 

"We have not made any decision yet," said Bogomilsky when The Item asked him about whether or not he will file the appeal and action mentioned in the email. "First, we are waiting for the resolution and then we’ll have the chance to confer with our legal counsel."

 

Larry Kron, the rabbi’s attorney for the synagogue site plan application could not be reached for comment because he is out of the office until March 5.

 

An exact date for the Zoning Board’s vote on the memorialization resolution has not yet been determined. Zoning Chairman Joseph Steinberg noted the board could vote on the resolution during its March 19 meeting.

Currently, the synagogue continues to hold its regular services at the Jefferson Avenue residence.

 

At the conclusion of the Feb. 13 board meeting, Bogomilsky noted he has a legal agreement with the municipality that there will be no interference with any Chai Center activities at the Jefferson Avenue property pending any litigation.

 

Bogomilsky’s attorney Philip Pfeffer filed a motion in September to dismiss a complaint made by the Millburn Township Committee’s attorney Michael Kates this past summer asking for a review of a 2009 court settlement between the municipality and Bogomilsky, his wife and the Chai Center. The complaint was filed because the township claims the Bogomilskys violated the terms of the settlement agreement.

 

"We are asking the judge the dismiss it," Bogomilsky said at the board meeting. "The township has missed the last court date."

 

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Save Millburn is the name for the local, registered, non-profit group,
The Concerned Neighborhood Association of Millburn Township, Inc. - Email Help@SaveMillburn.com