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Moorestown Has a Busy Month in Court

Superior Court Judge Ronald Bookbinder is expected to rule on the East Gate Square lawsuit this month, along with one part of the Open Space lawsuit.

From a strictly legal perspective, August could be a watershed month for Moorestown.

At 10 a.m. Friday, Superior Court Judge Ronald Bookbinder is expected to rule on an injunction filed against the township by attorney Jeffrey Baron to keep it from spending money out of the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund for field improvements at . Baron also , on behalf of STEM (Save the Environment of Moorestown), to completely block its use of the fund for the field project. 

from the fund for the $1.5 million project.

Baron contends the language in the township's interpretative statement on the 2007 referendum—as well as the state statute the township based its Open Space ordinance on—restricts the use the fund to acquisition of land for recreation and conservation, and development and maintenance of said land.

The township, of course, believes otherwise, based on the legal advice of township attorney Thomas Coleman. 

“We researched this extensively, and I feel we’re on solid ground going forward,” said Mayor John Button.

Though the judge is only expected to rule on the injunction, Baron said it's possible Bookbinder could rule on the full complaint if he felt he had enough information.

The hearing will be open to the public and will be held in Judge Bookbinder's courtroom on the seventh floor of the county building at 49 Rancocas Road in Mount Holly.

At 2 p.m. Aug. 15, the township goes back before Bookbinder for a hearing regarding the East Gate Square lawsuit. , claiming its liquor license ordinance was too restrictive,

A hearing was scheduled for today (Thursday), but was postponed due to scheduling issues.

Attorney Craig Huber, representing East Gate, said both sides in the case have prepared written briefs and presented them to the judge, and will argue their respective cases in front of Bookbinder.

Though Huber said he doesn't necessarily expect Bookbinder to render a decision the day of the hearing, a resolution is expected this month.

"To the best of my knowledge, we are still expecting a judgment this month," said Coleman.

East Gate's suit has not slowed the township's ability to award licenses to PREIT, which owns the mall. —to PREIT at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 6. 

East Gate also submitted a proposal for a license for $1,030,0000. 

The East Gate hearing will also be held in Bookbinder's courtroom on the seventh floor of the county building. 

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