Members of township council met Wednesday to hash out their options after a , but won’t make any decisions until Monday at the earliest.
Council met behind closed doors for roughly an hour while solicitor Thomas Coleman brought them up to speed on the decision rendered by Superior Court Judge Ronald Bookbinder last month. Ruling on a , Bookbinder shot down a township ordinance aimed at restricting the issuance of licenses to the mall, and also invalidated the second referendum question.
Township manager Scott Carew said Coleman presented council with various options for how to move forward during the executive session.
“He basically gave council food for thought,” said Carew.
Neither Carew nor any of the council members—or Coleman, for that matter—were inclined to go into detail on what those options are or which way council might be leaning.
However, it’s safe to say council’s options are limited to the following: appeal Bookbinder’s decision, file a motion for reconsideration (which the judge said he’d entertain), or amend the ordinance regulating liquor licenses to be less restrictive.
The latter course of action could be met with some resistance, , assuming Question 2 was enforceable and alcohol would be confined to the mall property.
Resident Monique Begg raised this concern when she addressed council prior to the closed-door session, suggesting the township should resubmit the referendum to the voters.
“It’s only fair,” she said. “People voted with a clear understanding that we needed to vote for (questions) one and two.”
Coleman replied there was no need to put the referendum before voters again, since Bookbinder’s ruling made it clear Question 1 was still “valid and enforceable.”
Coleman also pointed out Bookbinder brought by resident/attorney Bill Cox last year. .
Following Wednesday's executive session, Coleman said he and Carew would work together to “craft an appropriate course of action as to how (the township) should proceed” and present it to council at their regular meeting Monday.
When asked whether he and Coleman would present a menu of options or a single recommendation to council, Carew said that hadn’t been decided yet.
Though Coleman said he believed PREIT, owner of the Moorestown Mall, was preparing a motion for reconsideration of Bookbinder’s ruling, Carew explained that PREIT’s plans wouldn’t play any role in the township’s decision.
“Our action will be taken independent of PREIT,” said Carew.
Town council meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the IT room at .