Millburn, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Council chambers were filled to overflowing at Tuesday's Millburn Township Committee meeting. Residents turned out to voice their concerns about approval for a facility that would produce a chemical to aid in cancer research and treatment.
The site is zoned for medical offices and the new property owners, AAA, requested two variances from the Planning Board for lot adjustments and frontage. Those variances were granted in the spring. The light manufacturing site would be located near the Millburn kindergarten co-op. Taylor Park playground and within walking distance of neighborhood schools. Several residents said the facility belongs in an industrial park, not in a heavily populated community.
A petition with 640 names, along with comments, was presented to the committee that evening. Residents were visually upset that this plan was approved without their knowledge. Mayor Robert Tillotson said all meetings are listed on the website, instagram and other social media. But still, many residents said they didn’t realize the dangerous aspects of these substances being manufactured in their community until they saw the petition.
A number of people blamed the Township Committee for not protecting their interests. “How is it possible in America that people can make no decision?” one person asked. The residents were told that the Committee could not override the Planning Board and that there are restrictions regarding state and federal laws.
One person said, when she heard about the company and its product, “I thought it was a joke.” Another resident asked for a clear time line for the Township Committee to respond to residents with a contingency plan.