It started as a relatively simple premise. The state’s Highlands Act was designed to save green spaces, protect North Jersey’s water supply and natural habitats, and stop construction crews from developing the remaining forests and fields of Northwest Jersey.
Now comes the hard part: turning the concept into rules and regulations.
There are many skeptics. They believe the state is moving too quickly on an enormous project that will have long-term consequences. They are concerned about a potential loss of property values and a loss of home rule to a Highlands bureaucracy.
“They are stealing our property values to redirect development. That is criminal,” said Hunterdon County farmer Hank Klumpp.
“I don’t understand to this day how this is going to be administered,” said Montville Township Committeeman Art Daughtry. “There is no money in the bank for this. How are they going to compensate landowners? This is going to end up in the courts for a long time.”
Getting away with murder
Kill someone in Essex County and chances are you’ll get away with it.
At least that was the outcome in 637 murders over a recent six- year period in the state’s deadliest county, a Star-Ledger analysis has found.
From 1998 through 2003, fewer than half the murders in Essex County resulted in a conviction. And even when killers were convicted, only one in four received the legislatively mandated 30-year minimum, largely due to plea bargains, the analysis found.
They’re going after the post- and-beam version of super-size fries.
Mammoth residences going up in Montclair have planners reaching for the antacids and looking to rein in the size of what are often called McMansions, a case in point being the 10 large-scale houses going up at the site of the old Marlboro Inn.
But what Mellon hears, Christina Mayer sees — up close. “They’re huge,” said Mayer, who lives across the street. “It’s overwhelming, and I even live in a big house.”
Just as mega-size residences are taking shape, though, Montclair’s planners — like those elsewhere in New Jersey — are rolling out new land-use rules to throw at least some additional hurdles in the way of developers.
34-home proposal derided
A housing development plan that some residents fear will impinge on a historic village in the township is smaller than originally proposed, but still controversial.
The 34 homes now proposed for 2-acre lots is five fewer than a plan discussed earlier in the month by a lawyer for the developer. Robertson Douglas originally had sought to put 43 homes on the property.
A woman from Texas admitted, in court Friday, that she helped smuggle young women and girls from Honduras into this country, then forced them to work as prostitutes and dancers in bars in Union City and Guttenberg.
“Did you know what you were doing was wrong?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Gannett asked Friday.
Isuala-Meza paused, then said, “Well, at the end, yes, I realized that.”
Donald Trump has filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against the author and publisher of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald,” claiming the book knowingly understated the celebrity businessman’s wealth.
A lawyer for Trump filed a complaint in Superior Court in Camden on Monday accusing Timothy O’Brien, a New York Times business reporter, of damaging the real estate magnate’s reputation. Time Warner Book Group and Warner Books Inc., which published the 288-page book in October, are named as co-defendants.
The lawsuit takes issue with O’Brien’s use of three unnamed sources who said Trump “was not remotely close to being a billionaire,” and put his net worth between $150 million and $250 million. Trump’s suit suggests his fortune is closer to $2.7 billion.