New developments regarding the Chai Center’s
religious and cultural building located at
the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Old Short Hills Road:
A deed, from 1949, has been ruled authentic
and enforceable by a Superior Court Judge.
The deed does not allow for anything
but a private home at this location.
March 23, 2014
Millburn/Short Hills New Jersey
Years ago two deeds were written that did not allow for anything but private homes in the area where The Chai Center currently operates. This deed would have been in the title search when the Center originally bought the property.
One deed dates back to 1899 and recently a Superior Court Judge was asked to review the deeds. The Judge did not enforce the 1899 deed finding it ambiguous. But another deed, dated 1949, was ruled to be enforceable meaning that only private homes may be built on the lot where The Chai Center operates.
Given this ruling, The Chai Center may file an appeal but they must submit that within a 45-day period. If the ruling of the Superior Court is upheld, the expensive zoning dispute and litigation related to it would be moot.
Below is a quick review on what has happened with the original variance application since The Chai Center had its variance requests turned down by the Millburn Zoning Board back in 2012.
Feb 14, 2012 - The Chai Center was turned down by the Millburn Township Zoning Board in their request for relief from multiple variances in order to build an oversize structure on an undersized property at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Old Short Hills Road.
The Chai Center takes legal action to have the Zoning Board decision overturned concentrating on the difference in requirements between schools (2 acres) and Houses of Worship (3 acres).
May 31, 2013 - the Court invalidates the minimum lot size and parking requirements allowing Schools and Houses of Worship to be different or basically ruling against the Township.
December 17, 2013 - The Township introduces a new ordinance amending the provisions of the Land Development Ordinance revising the conditions for the conditional uses of Schools and Houses or Worship in the Township (both now require a minimum of three acres) and to adjust parking requirements for places of assembly, Schools and Houses of Worship consistent with current planning standards.
January 8, 2014 - The Township asked for reconsideration of the May 31, 2013 decision based on the new ordinance corrections. The Court did not grant reconsideration but also did not allow The Chai Center the option of going back to the Board of Adjustment. Instead the Court asked that both parties attend a hearing regarding the amended Ordinance on March 21, 2014 but then the Court decided to adjourn the argument for that date without setting a new specific date.
Millburn/Short Hills is a dynamic thriving diverse community of people striving to raise families in a lovely residential area. The Township is fulfilling their obligation in defending zoning rules so as not to change the complexion of the community in which we all have a stake.
SAVE MILLBURN is the name for the local, registered, non-profit group,
The Concerned Neighborhood Association of Millburn Township, Inc. 2014
www.SaveMillburn.com or write: