A Superior Court judge has decided to allow South Orange Township to intervene in a suit filed by Wainco against the South Orange Planning Board’ regarding its approval of a site plan for the redevelopment of Village Hall.
Last fall, Wainco South Orange, L.L.C. filed a suit in opposition to Landmark’s (101 South Orange Avenue Urban Renewal LLC) application before the South Orange Planning Board for a restaurant, catering facility, and beer garden in the former Village Hall.
Wainco attorney Dan Bernstein told Village Green, “Wainco owns the South Orange Square retail and office building which is located directly across the street from the Village Hall and will be detrimentally impacted by the project as proposed. Both Wainco and I made numerous recommendations to the Planning Board which have been ignored.”
Village President Sheena Collum reported at the January 8 Board of Trustees meeting, “We were quick to respond by filing a motion to intervene as a party to the case.” Collum stated that the Township has a vested financial interest in the building as the owner of the property, with the expectation of revenue from its sale and in its increased state of disrepair as development is stalled. “We are now officially party to case,” said Collum, adding that the Township had already filed its pleading as a result of the ruling.
The Village President reported that there would be a conference at end of January and that she “will keep you updated after Jan. 26.”
Collum also posted an update via Facebook:
Village Hall Update: Pleased that the Superior Court Judge has granted the Village its motion to intervene and expedite. We have 10 days to file our pleading. Oh, and we already did.
In simple terms (because I, too, hate lawyer language). Mr. Wainberg filed a suit against our Planning Board and Landmark to stop Village Hall moving forward as a restaurant, indoor/outdoor beer garden and banquet hall. He didn’t name the Village (meaning the Board of Trustees on behalf of all of you in the suit). We obviously have an interest in this litigation – we own the building, this is holding up a closing and over a million dollars, and the anticipated revenue once it’s completed. Additionally, this unfortunate delay is causing further deterioration of what’s clearly a historic village icon. Of course “we”, on behalf of our community and taxpayers, have a vested interest in this case. We met all the criteria necessary to “intervene”. As for the timeliness of our motion, it was 2 days after the Planning Board was served. We’re on this folks. A case management conference will take place later this month and I will certainly keep you posted.