Residents Urge Appeal in TMB Housing Case
Recent ruling in an affordable housing case with TMB Partners would require Millburn to provide sewer services for many more Livingston units on Tutor Time property.
More than 25 Millburn and Short Hills residents showed up at Tuesday's township committee meeting to rail against a recent Superior Court ruling requiring Millburn Township to provide sewer service to 62 more units on the Tutor Time property in Livingston.
The Short Hills Association urged the committee to appeal the ruling against the township in an affordable housing case with TMB Partners. The residents said the ruling would impair a Millburn sewer system that already has serious issues and would forever change the nature of Millburn.
"It's not Millburn's responsibility to provide sewer service for a project in another town that has its own capacity," Michael Steinberg of Short Hills said at the meeting. "Let Livingston take care of its own needs."
The recent ruling by Judge Dennis Carey of Livingston in Newark Superior Court requires the township to provide sewer service to units originally zoned by Livingston as a restaurant at the property located at 650 S. Orange Ave.
The ruling voided a decades old contract set to expire in February 2015 with Livingston that prohibited sewer service to more than 10 units on the property, Millburn Business Administrator Tim Gordon said Wednesday.
"This proposed construction of a multiple-family development on this site has nothing to do with desire of the owners to provide affordable housing," resident Rosalie Rubin said. "Rather the development is a blatant attempt to take advantage of the COHA [Council on Affordable Housing] laws."
In their defense, the association cited previous studies by township engineering consultant firm Hatch Mott MacDonald that proved Millburn sewage systems would backup during period of heavy rain and infiltration.
Millburn Township Attorney Brent Carney said the judge ruled based on the state Constitution’s obligation to the Affordable Housing Act to amend the original contract with Livingston.
"The judge did say he looked upon the opposition with a jaundice eye," Carney said.
The Millburn Township Committee was not briefed on the ruling by township lawyers prior to the meeting and were unable to comment. The committee met in closed session following the meeting to discuss the issue.
For years, the Short Hills Association has urged residents to fight the Livingston project.
In December 2010, Livingston originally approved a zoning change for the property as settlement in affordable housing case anddTMB Partners proposed the 62-unit project in early 2012 to the Livingston Planning Board.
Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff said Wednesday the committee would have a public statement of the ruling at the next meeting on April 2.
The township would need to appeal the ruling to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court in Newark by April 8, Gordon said.