Just over two weeks after he unexpectedly recused himself from voting on the application to build a hotel on Route 9 Howell Zoning Board of Adjustment Chairman Steve Meier made another surprising move at Tuesday’s council meeting by resigning.
The Howell Council approved the resignation of both Meier and Valeri Morone on Tuesday night. While Morone’s letter reportedly cited personal reasons for resigning, Meier spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting to explain his reasons. “I’ve reached the point where I’ve had too many people coming up to me making complaints,” he said. “I am just tired of dealing with all of it. I know right now I do not have the support nor do I agree with the council with what your goals are.”
Mayor Bill Gotto said he did not believe the zoning board chairman needed to be in agreement with the council to do the job. Meier agreed somewhat, adding, “We really don’t have to but with the appointments and such for me to get the board where I thought you wanted it I can’t do that anymore.”
Gotto again questioned whether that was the role of the zoning board chairman. “I think the job of the council is to put qualified members of the public on the zoning board and it’s the job of the zoning board chairman to run the meeting in accordance with the guidance of the statute.”
Meier said he did not believe he could do that with the current group of members appointed to the board. “I’ve done 17 years of this and enjoyed 16 of them,” he said. Citing the recent hotel case, he added, “I was probably one of the few people in town who didn’t care one way or another whether we got it or not. My concern was just making sure that the record was clear whatever way it was decided so that it could be supported on appeal.”
Morone was the lone no vote against the hotel and also played a key role in an application by T-Mobile to build a cell tower on the Christ Church property last year. The application was approved but ultimately the project was cancelled.
At the end of the meeting Mayor Gotto thanked Meier, Morone and Planning Board member Patrice Hayslett who also resigned for personal reasons for their service to the township.
Replacements for the three members and any other vacant seats on the board will likely be filled at the January 7 reorganization meeting at the Municipal Building.