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Letter to Mendham Township Committee


2/5/2023 As you may know, the MAPC has spent considerable time, energy and money researching and providing additional research and information in consideration and support of Mendham Township protecting a meaningful portion of the Spring Tree property. The MAPC is perplexed and appalled by the Planning Board’s position at this stage, especially

their complete lack of interest in any of the conditions recommended by us during the January 19th meeting and outlined in the requested opinion letter (attached) which are all based upon sound engineering and environmental expert review. At the November 2021 Township Committee meeting, where a request for a delay in the up-zoning vote was made and rejected, the Mayor specifically told the public that the Planning Board would steward the environmental issues with any Spring Tree application. That clearly has not happened.

The MAPC hired legal counsel and experts who demonstrated that the Planning Board has the power and discretion to condition any approval with critical environmental safeguards. However, the Planning Board chair deliberately steered the Board away from requiring any conditions whatsoever, apart from a minor one which limits tree cutting during the season when endangered bats are nesting. The viewpoint offered by the Chair instructed other Board members to disregard far more important conditions regarding woodlands habitat and assure full compliance by Spring Tree and future homeowners with existing environmental laws. This subjective approach should not be the only basis for assuring balance of the environment concerns. There needs to be safeguards put in place to avoid further damage to the unique and fragile environmentally qualities found in and around the Spring Tree property.


Based upon the 2021 up-zone ordinance, the false promises made by the Township Committee and the refusal of the Planning Board to condition its approval with environmental safeguards, it is clear that our municipal government appears not to care about the environmental impacts of development.


We respectfully ask that the Township Committee instruct the Planning Board to re-open the

Spring Tree application discussion once again to specifically seek more balance in the resolutions being considered and to be more forceful in protecting the trees and habitat. Specifically, the Township Committee needs to require permanent conditions for conservation easements to protect trees, habitats and steep slopes that impact the C1 waterways adjacent and on the Spring Tree land.

Once these trees are gone, they will never be replaced unless required, and this sensitive land will be changed forever. The Township Committee has the discretion and ability to show the citizens of Mendham Township that they are balanced in their discourse and consideration of the environment which is highlighted throughout Mendham Township ordinances and Master Plan.


Now is the time for environmental leadership to emerge once again in Mendham Township in

the tradition of Dismal Harmony, the Great Swamp and numerous other local examples. We

remain hopeful that your environmental conscience will be found and that you will discuss Spring Tree once again and issue instructions to the Planning Board before any final resolution and vote is cast in stone on this application at their next meeting.

Sincerely,


Frank Zammataro

President

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