Mayor’s Update November 2017
Dear Resident and Business Owner,
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Councilwoman Christine Glassner as the Chairperson of the newly formed Mayoral Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Development. Chris has an extensive background in small business development and has offered her expertise to help identify economic growth in the entire community. One of the first things which Chris and her committee will be assessing is our land use fee schedule to make sure that our fees are competitive, both for prospective business owners as well as residents who are looking to upgrade their existing homes and property.
You may have noticed the smattering of signs which have popped up, primarily in the area of East Main Street in the area of the former Mariques Restaurant which convey an opposition to the potential placement of a new Dunkin’ Donuts on this property. The owner had filed an application to be heard before the Board of Adjustment as he was seeking a land use variance that would be required to incorporate a drive-in window within the building. He has since decided to withdraw that application and from what I have been told, he plans to drop the drive-in window concept and resubmit his application as a site plan review which will require a hearing before the Planning Board.
I wanted to inform all of you that the Mayor and Council members have been advised by legal counsel to refrain from commenting one way of the other on any land use application, the Dunkin’ Donuts application being no exception. Simply put, we cannot offer up an opinion if asked what our feeling is about a possible Dunkin’ Donut in Mendham Borough.
Why? Both the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment are autonomous quasi-judicial entities which assess each land use application which gets assigned to them. If an elected official offers an opinion on any land use application before it is heard or acted on, he or she runs the risk of placing the Borough in serious legal jeopardy. Approval or disapproval of an application can be challenged in court as an appeal, so it is extremely important the Mayor and Council Members remain neutral so as not to be accused during a potential appeal process of having undue influence over the outcome of the application which of course could lead to a significant amount of money being spent on legal bills.
I am very confident the volunteer members of both of our land use boards are able to objectively hear all land use applications which come before them while stripping away all of the emotion that an application may generate. It is also important that all our applicants receive a fair, objective and public hearing on their applications.
In other news, initial screenings and interviews have been completed as we move to identify our new Borough Administrator. Several quality candidates have been identified and the goal is to have a finalist identified later in November so that a compensation package can be negotiated and finalized. Ideally, I expect the new administrator to be in place by January 1, 2018.
Police Officer in Charge John Camoia continues to work with Mendham Township Chief of Police Ross Johnson to identify shared services with the neighboring Police Department in Mendham Township. The two police departments have successfully participated together in a Welcome Back to School program, have drilled in an active shooter drill at Mendham High School and are now talking about working together to sponsor a Toys for Tots program for this upcoming holiday season. Work has begun between the two officers to produce a more detailed mutual aid agreement that can be memorialized for future use.
The Mayor and Council remain committed to serving you. If you have anything you want to discuss with us, please contact us through Borough Clerk Margot Kaye at the Phoenix House.
Mayor Neil Henry