LETTER TO THE EDITOR SOLBERG APPEAL IN READINGTON

Quoting from Duffy and Smith’s recent email “Another bit of misinformation…our taxes will go up to pay the Solbergs’ legal fees. This too is untrue…  If the Township appeals…and we win we will not have to pay the Solbergs’ legal fees …If we do not appeal, the Solbergs don’t get the $22 million, and we will have more than enough money to pay their legal fees.”
 
Why file an appeal now (other than to prevent civil lawsuits against Committee members involved in perpetrating this battle)? Regardless of appeals, who will pay the $22 million dollar bond (passed under false pretenses in 2006), if not the citizens of Readington through our taxes? This bond is payable in 2016, when it gets moved to our long-term debt.  The township can’t tell us how much this litigation has affected our taxes to date, but former Mayor Allen’s letter, from 2013, still posted athttp://readingtontwp.org/mayorscorner/Letter_Solberg_Airport.html, tells us “the annual interest on bonds plus legal fees is costing the average household about $100 per year.” Based on roughly 6,000 households, that’s $600,000 in 2013, more since then.
 
Duffy and Smith claim to be against large-scale development. They should read the current Mayor’s Corner letter that reads: “The first residents moved into the new Toll Brothers Active Adult community on Route 22 East…A new Walgreens Pharmacy is rising on the corner of Route 22 West and 523 and Mark Hartman’s mixed use development is coming along on Route 22 East… But my personal favorite is the application coming, to demolish the eyesore diner and replace it with a small, retail development with apartments upstairs.”
 
Please note the Walgreens property was three virgin acres of trees on Route 22.  I’m going to borrow from Ms. Allen’s letter, mentioned before, that states, “Any of these options would have a serious negative impact on our community’s treasured rural character.”
 
I haven’t seen anything from Larry Lelah and Deb Lyons about wanting big box stores but they do want to fill the existing empty businesses on Route 22 and Main Street. This is a good way to save us from destroying more wooded lots. At the last Township Meeting the current Planning Board and Township Committee approved the expansion of Wal-Mart. Isn’t this a big-box store already?
 
Regarding Ms. Allen, I would sincerely like to thank her for all the good she has done for this township. Truly! Letting that stand by itself, I’ve also been looking at property records, and while she states, “Readington in the last five years has been enjoying an unprecedented period of stable property taxes” I’ve noticed that five properties (totaling 99 acres), acquired in 2011 by the Allens, had the land value assessment drop 67% to $191,100. That is $388,300 less than the prior owner. How is this helping us? (B55 Lots 9 12 12 12.01 & B66 Lot 48).
 
Liz Duffy’s 4.22 acres dropped $46,500 or 29% in 2013. 
Larry Lelah’s hasn’t changed.
 
Vote Lelah & Lyons!
 
Bob Schoenfeld
Whitehouse Station