We were in court yesterday for a hearing on the challenge to our zoning resolution to operate Reese’s House as a community center. We are happy to report that the judge decided to dismiss this case entirely! 

Our resolution was initially challenged by our neighbor, Rick Abbott, at the municipal level, but he was over 10 days late in filing his appeal. Even though the appeal was incredibly late, the City Commissioners of Millville still decided that they would hear the case. We publicly pled with them not to hear it because it was late, but they were adamant that it should be heard. They eventually yielded and postponed the hearing since our neighbor also filed with Superior Court and they thought that that appeal should take precedence. They decided to postpone, not cancel, the hearing with them pending the outcome in court. 

The attorney for Mr. Abbott was asking the judge to force the city to hold a hearing, even though the appeal was late. They were not named as a party in the court case so they were not there to answer for themselves. As a result, the judge decided that the city ultimately needs to decide in this situation. Are they going to accept an appeal that was filed over 10 days late according to NJ law and hold a hearing or are they going to do the right thing and deny the untimely filing? 

At this point, Mr. Abbott’s attorney will be reaching out to the city to inform them of what happened and to relay the judge’s mandate. It looks like the City Commission will then have to schedule this matter to be discussed at a public hearing. They will presumably hear arguments from both sides before deciding whether to deny the appeal or hold a hearing. If they decide to hear the matter, they will pick a date to hold the hearing and the decision will ultimately be in their hands. If they vote in favor of Abbott and strike down our resolution from the Zoning Board, we will appeal to Superior Court. If they vote in our favor, Abbott will presumably appeal back to Superior Court. 

As you can see, this is still far from over. Fortunately, we won the first battle in this war and can operate Reese’s House as a community center until we are told otherwise. Thankfully, our building recently passed all inspections and we are now able to offer programs and hold events. We plan on getting to work immediately and using this time to serve our community! 

Keep an eye out for more communications from us regarding upcoming events and opportunities at Reese’s House and for more information on what is happening with this appeal. We never thought that we would have to fight this hard to open up a community center in our town (that desperately needs it!), but we are in this fight until the end because we know what is at stake for our city and county! If you would like to help, click here for more information! 

Thanks for continuing to be a part of our fight! It means a lot to know that we have the support of our community!