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Plumsted Pastor Joins Developer In Seeking To Silence An “Outside Agitator”

Deep dysfunction on the Plumsted Plantation

Chairmen and Pastors Behaving Badly

Plumsted Land Use Board (7/5/16)

Plumsted Land Use Board (7/5/16)

“Please, tell us why you think you should be allowed to speak in our community” ~~~ Pastor Dominck Cuozzo (7/5/16)

I really thought the Plumsted Plantation folks could go no lower than they did on June 21. But they managed to do so last night.

The June 21 Crazy

On that night, the Chairman of the Land Use Board angrily gaveled the meeting adjourned during my testimony. The Chairman immediately then leapt out of his seat, practically ran behind the dias, and charged out into the room and got in my face as I stood in the well- practically chest bumping me – and shouted “Go back to Bordentown!”

The New Egypt police later arrived and interviewed the Chairman. The police told me that he admitted doing this – the cops asked me if I wanted to press charges. I declined but asked that they file a report in order to protect myself in case the Chairman became even more violent.

Just prior to the Chairman’s outburst, the representative of Lennar, Robert Calabero, interrupted my testimony, tried to silence me, and then demanded to know my name and address so that he could “investigate”.

What standing does this gentleman have to raise questions of public concern if he is not a resident of this town?

As I tried to explain the reasons why and how that met the NJ MLUL standard for standing he again interrupted:

Can I have your name and address so that I can investigate that?

The audience then began shouting “he’s here on our behalf!!”

Later, during the recess after the Chairman’s outburst, Mr. Calabero continued his attack, demanding my name and address:

You’ll be hearing from me, don’t worry”

I replied

I’ll take that as a threat

This is not some absurd made up story – I have the complete scene all recorded on tape (the above quotes are verbatim – trying now to create a link to an MP3 to share).

The Crazy continues on July 5

For the followup hearing, I returned to the madhouse on July 5 for more punishment.

It was one of those moments when your jaw drops, momentarily unable to respond, stunned by the absurdity of the moment:

“Please, tell us why you think you should be allowed to speak in our community” was the question I faced last night in Plumsted.

I was there trying to testify at a public hearing of the Plumsted Land Use Board against the massive sprawl “Greenbrier at Crosswicks” development.

That jaw dropping question didn’t come from the lawyer for the developer Lennar Inc., but from a Land Use Board member, Pastor Dominick Cuozzo, of the Bible Baptist Church of New Egypt.

Pastor Dom is known for some good old time fire and brimstone:

“We are in a war against a culture pushed toward all that is ungodly, unrighteous and wicked,” said Dominick Cuozzo, pastor. “Someday, without revival, this country will be in despotism and your children will want to know what you did to try to turn the tide.”

Apparently, the good Pastor seems to not understand that thing called the Constitution and its establishment clause in the 1st amendment.

Yet after denouncing local officials in extraordinarily harsh Biblical terms, he has the nerve to conduct his services at the house of the wicked and despotic Caesar:

We are currently holding all Sunday Services at The Plumsted Township Municipal Building  located at 121 Evergreen Road. New Egypt, NJ 08533

Pastor Dom was piling on in support of a challenge by the lawyer for developer Lennar, Inc.

Maybe the good Pastor would like to explain to his flock why he tried to silence the voice of this Child of God, while defending a greedy corporate developer. (Camels flying though the eye of the needle and all that jazz. And those were the Gates of Heaven, not Lennar’s “Private Gated Community”).

I actually have more respect and understanding for the Chairman’s violent outburst than the Pastor’s attempt to silence a corporate critic.

Lennar objected to my testimony, claiming I was not an “interested party” under the Municipal land Use Law.

“Interested party” means: (a) in a criminal or quasi-criminal proceeding, any citizen of the State of New Jersey; and (b) in the case of a civil proceeding in any court or in an administrative proceeding before a municipal agency, any person, whether residing  within or without the municipality, whose right to use, acquire, or enjoy property is or may be affected by any action taken under this act, or whose rights to use, acquire, or enjoy property under this act, or under any other law of this State or of the United States have been denied, violated or infringed by an action or a failure to act under this act.

I was forced to get sidetracked on a 15 minute debate with the Board’s lawyer who supported the Lennar lawyer in trying to shut me down.

The NJ law is on my side: Courts take a very liberal interpretation of allowing broad public interests to qualify as “interested parties” under the MLUL to allow non-residents to testify- the wonks can see this and this and this and this.

I won the debate on “interested party” standing to speak – the Board actually passed a Resolution saying that I would be treated the same as residents and allowed to speak –  but in doing so had to threaten to sue them and lost the war to the crazies on the Plumsted Plantation Planning Board.

I was limited to asking questions – all of which they ignored.

I really pissed them off when I asked a question: if they supported or if they would censure the Chairman for his violent and totally inappropriate bullying and intimidating behavior (which bordered on the criminal).

Never again, folks.

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