At the start of Tuesday's Zoning Board meeting, board member Peter Rebsch requested that he be reseated so that he can participate in the hearing of the potential development of the United Water property by the S. Hekemian Group.
from the remainder of the United Water Property hearings due to a conflict raised by a campaign ad that he and then Council President Howard Berner placed in the Twin Boro News while they were running on the Republican ticket for town council.
Concerned with the "integrity of the process," Board Attorney Scott Sproviero said that the ad gave the appearance of a conflict; the appearance that Rebsch may have already formed a position or developed an opinion prior to the completion of the hearing and prior to a vote being taken and suggested that "a more prudent course" would be for him to recuse himself from the rest of the proceedings regarding the United Water property development.
During Tuesday's meeting, Rebsch stressed that he was not involved in any aspect of the ad that was printed in the Twin Boro News.
"I was not involved with the design of it or with the publishing of it," he said.
Responding to this request, Sproviero said, "It is not up to us, it's up to you."
Sproviero said that if Rebsch believes that the circumstances that led to his recusal no longer exist, and if he believes that he can move forward fairly and impartially, he sees no legal impediment and has no objection to his hearing the application.
Rebsch said that because the high density housing portion of the application no longer exists, it changes the dynamic of the application.
"Such a tremendous change almost makes it a new application, and I feel I can contribute," Rebsch said.
However, Sproviero stressed that the applicant may raise the issue of Rebsch's reseating, along with other issues, should the hearing progress to the courts.
Alternatively, Hekemian's attorney, Antimo "Andy" DelVecchio, said that this presents a "thorny issue" regardless of the Board's decision. He emphasized that should the application be approved by the Board, an objector may raise this reseating as an issue in any potential lawsuit arising from the decision.