In a 5-1 vote, the Berkeley Heights town council has voted against amending town law to extend sewer service to the Berkeley Aquatic Club's proposed 51,000 square foot facility in neighboring Warren.
With the vote, the next step for the aquatic center is in doubt. The Independent Press reported that Councilman Ed Delia provided the one vote in favor of the ordinance.
Last month, a petition drive spearheaded by a public relations firm hired by the Aquatic Center garnered enough signatures to prompt the Berkeley Heights Town Council to vote on amending the rule.
Berkeley Heights and Warren Township have an agreement that allows new residential structures in Warren Township to access the Berkeley Heights Sewage Treatment Facility, but not commercial structures such as the proposed BAC facility.
According to published reports, residents opposed to the project flocked to the meeting. Residents living near the proposed building say the facility would substantially increase traffic on Hillcrest Road and create a hazardous situation. Residents also claimed Emerson Lane would be used as a short cut and for overflow parking. They also claimed that the installation of the facility would substantially reduce their property values.
Other residents in favor of the facility have claimed that allowing the BAC to tap into Berkeley Height's sewage would bring in revenue to offset taxes.