The School District of the Chathams and the Chatham Athletic Booster Club must seek approval from boards in Chatham Township, Chatham Borough and Madison.
Superior Court Judge W. Hunt Dumont of Morris County, N.J., has told the School District of the Chathams and the Chatham Athletic Booster Club that in order to move ahead with plans to install lights on a field in Chatham Township, they must seek approval from boards in Chatham Township, Chatham Borough and Madison.
According to the The Star-Ledger of Newark, a group of residents in July sued 10 parties, including the school district, Chatham Township, Madison, Chatham Borough and the towns' respective planning and zoning boards, over the field, which is located in both Chatham Township and Madison. The school district contended that because field lighting is a school improvement project, the Department of Education has jurisdiction over the matter, with local planning boards entitled only to a courtesy review.
Dumont rejected the district's jurisdictional argument regarding the $200,000-plus project, which will be funded by the boosters. "Practically speaking, the court finds these plans compel more zoning concerns than educational concerns," Dumont said in his ruling. "These lights, their illumination, how long they'll be on, parking, noise, vibration, glare - all these factors - a municipality has the right to consider them."