LETTER – ALLEN FIRES BACK IN READINGTON

To the Editor,

I would like to comment on Scott Scammell’s recent letter to the Editor calling for my resignation from the Readington Township Planning Board and Open Space Committee simply because Judge Armstrong ruled against Readington Township in the Solberg Airport case. First of all, a number of members of the legal community have been aghast at the court’s apparent bias and the judge’s brazen rhetoric that has been characterized as revealing a  ‘love affair’ with aviation.  Secondly,  Scammell’s “outrage” is not real; it is purely contrived for political reasons. He was very happy to see the Solbergs win and wanted to take another opportunity to call attention to the court’s decision for political reasons.

Readington Township has a lot more serious business to attend to and should have little time to devote to political nonsense of this sort. First, and maybe not even foremost, the Committee needs to analyze Judge Armstrong’s decision, figure out what can be learned from it, and decide what’s next. They have the difficult decisions ahead, discerning what residents expect of them and what is now in the township’s best interests. One thing a majority of residents do agree on is that they do not want this beautiful tract of land owned by Solberg Aviation to be transformed into a busy jetport. So what is next? That is a decision left up to the Township Committee, Solberg Aviation, and ultimately, quite likely, the State DOT.

The Committee has a lot of other important matters on its plate as well. This is a time of tremendous uncertainty across the entire State as to exactly what the Affordable Housing obligation will be for New Jersey’s more than 500 municipalities. The Township has another important job with Merck relocating and a new contract in place for the purchase the former Headquarters facility. Merck has communicated that the property is under contract, but has not yet revealed who the buyer is.  Readington has to work with the new buyer, and with others, who are interested in redevelopment of Readington’s commercial areas to continue to maintain our township’s strong ratable base.

Scott Scammell and his cronies have called for a complete housecleaning of all volunteers on Readington’s Boards and Committees. Does this mean they don’t appreciate the hard work and expertise of these volunteers? Do they want to change the direction of Readington’s future? Most of us moved here because we liked what we saw when we arrived. Forty years ago, I decided that I would do what I could to preserve Readington’s pleasant rural character and its beautiful farms and open spaces. That has been the focus of my 38 years of volunteer service and it will continue to be. Turns out it was the most fiscally responsible route as well, as it was cheaper to preserve land, with the help of State grants, than it was to develop rapidly and have to pay much more for services. Comparing Readington’s total adjusted tax rate to that of other townships in New Jersey helps to make this point, and Readington in the last five years has been enjoying an unprecedented period of stable property taxes.  Besides this, Readington is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Something must have been done right over the years.  With that, I rest my case!

Sincerely, Julia Allen