Thursday, June 12, 2014

Planning Board Votes 6-3 To Turn Down Trinity Hall Application

I spent several long hours last night at the Middletown Planning Board meeting listen to public comments made by both Trinity Hall supporters and residents from the Chapel Hill area who opposed the construction of the all-girls high school in their neighborhood off of Chapel Hill Rd. and Kings Highway East.

I didn't get home until nearly 1:30 am and was too tired to write anything about it until now. Seeing how both the Middletown Patch and The Asbury Park Press reporters were both in attendance I won't get into a lot of details, you can read about the proceedings in greater detail from them.

At times, those that commented were passionate in their opposition or support of the proposal but in the end the Middletown Planning Board turned down Trinity Hall's application by a vote of 6-3 in favor of the residents concerns over safety and traffic issues. Needless to say, members of the Chapel Hill Neighborhood Group, many of which were in attendance and spoke during the public comments before the Planning Board voted, were ecstatic over the outcome. Trinity Hall supporters... not so much.

As a matter of fact, after the proceedings, a rather heated argument erupted outside the court room, in the lobby of Town Hall were the meeting took place. It was broken up quickly however before anything serious happened between the two parties.

As I said, I would recap further but after 7 hours of testimony the Middletown-Patch and reporter Christina Johnson has a good summary of the nights proceedings. Also the Asbury Park Press's reporter Larry Higgs was there for the whole 7 hour proceeding and I'm sure that he will have a much more to say about meeting in his article. I'm interested in hearing what the people he interviewed afterwards had to say about the evening.

The past 6 months have been a long and grueling process on both the residents of Chapel Hill and the proponents of Trinity Hall school but it showed what can happen when residents ban together and speak with one, united voice against well funded special interests. David can overcome Goliath.    

This past 6 months also shows you how not to present your case in front of the Planning Board. Trinity Hall did a terrible job justifying the need for the school to be located in Middletown and presented flawed site drawings and relied on various reports that were several years old and turned  not to reflect the current conditions of the proposed site today.

Trinity Hall was lazy and evidently felt that this application was a slam dunk. They didn't do the proper homework needed to ensure that their proposal would succeed. They wasted a lot of time, money and effort and if that is the way that they would run their school, I think it's best that their application was turned down. They can go build their school elsewhere.


Margie Rafferty said...

Thanks, Mike, for your excellent representation of both sides on your blog. Your insight into their application, as usual, is right on. It was almost like they were hoping no one was paying attention enough to notice the flaws. The moment of truth was when they realized they missed the driveway entrance by 60 feet; 60 FEET!! Anyone familiar with that road would know that 60 feet puts their entrance at the modest side of the ravine, and that the shoaring up of the land that would have to be done to withstand the constant flow of traffic SHOULD have sent the application back to the drawing board. But Gorman called it ok to be less than perfect, and Rathjen based his motion to approve contigent solely on the school getting a "safety officer." That's it? Right.
Long and Winding Road speaks not only to Chapel Hill, but to the journey in general. And might I add, what a looooong, strange trip it's been.

Anonymous said...

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Share your experience.