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)

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MILLBURN, NJ –  June 21, 2010 - The Zoning Board of Adjustment's second meeting, regarding the attempt by the Chai Center to overturn four variances, was held on Monday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hartshorn School in Short Hills. The application is opposed by many of the  neighbors and others in the township

At the first meeting, held on April 12th, Rabbi Mendel Bogomilsky began to present his case to knock down two houses and build a 16,350 square-foot synagogue and religious center on Jefferson Avenue in Short Hills. That meeting ended with John Lamb, attorney for the owners of an adjoining property, not finished asking his questions.

 

Cross-examination of the Rabbi by attorney John Lamb was continued on Monday June 21st.  This cross-examination lasted several hours with one brief break in the middle. Lamb asked dozens and dozens of questions that attempting to show that the proposed new construction would serve a lot more purposes than just religious services. This same attorney asked for the Chai Center email mailing list which will be provided by the next meeting. The attorney contends that the Rabbi plans on marketing and growing the size of his Chai Center membership if a new, oversized for the property, building is approved.

 

Once the neighbor's attorney completed his questions, the attorney for The Concerned Neighborhood Association of Millburn Township, Kevin Coakley, asked his follow up questions. This was followed by the members of the Zoning Board of Adjustment asking the Rabbi their questions and finally the public was invited to ask any questions they had.

 

The central issue in most of the questions to date seem to involve the intentions of the Chai Center with regard to future plans for the location and whether the Rabbi and his group made serious attempts at purchasing a property with the required three acre minimum.

 

At 11 p.m., when time was up, the Chairman of the Zoning Board gave the date, time and location for the next meeting (July 26th, 7 p.m. Millburn High School Auditorium). There was no time for the Rabbi to call on his expert witnesses which should be called in the next session. The Rabbi will be calling on paid experts in planning, traffic and the architect.

 

Background Facts

 

  • The Chai Center wants to be allowed to tear down two current homes and replace them with a massive 16,350 square foot new building constructed on residential property that is more than an acre shy of the legal or required size.
  • Millburn zoning allows a house of worship to be built in a residential area but requires it to be on a minimum 3 acres.
  • The Chai Center group has only 1.815 acres of the required 3 acres even after combining their properties at number 1 and 7 Jefferson Avenue (corner lot facing Old Short Hills Road).
  • The Chai Center is asking that the height of the structure be allowed to go above the town approved height of 32 feet.
  • The Chai Center proposes many of the 48 car parking spaces be allowed to be closer to neighbors properties than the required 50-foot buffer.
  • The Chai Center proposes that entrances/exits be added on Old Short Hills Road which is already heavy with traffic and is the main thoroughfare for ambulances to and from St. Barnabas Hospital.
  • The Chai Center proposes large signage or identification on Old Short Hills Road.
  • The Chai Center wants to have a screened dumpster enclosure, an underground storage facility for storm water, fences, walkways and extensive landscaping.
  • The Chai Center is currently conducting services and holding classes with many cars parking on the front yard, back yard and on neighboring streets.

 

The Concerned Neighborhood Association of Millburn Township (also known asSave Millburn.com) implores officials on the Millburn Zoning Board of Adjustment to not make substantial zoning exceptions since the town has a full town wide approved Zoning Ordinance. If the Zoning Ordinance needs changes, by all means it should be updated and amended but on a town wide basis. Otherwise, our group doesn't accept special zoning for special interests anywhere in Millburn. Allowing substantial variances can hurt a great town's plan.

 

SAVE MILLBURN is the name for the local, registered, non-profit group,

The Concerned Neighborhood Association of Millburn Township, Inc. 2010

www.SaveMillburn.com or write:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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