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Lieberman Blecher & Sinkevich, P.C. and WoodMeier Farms, LLC filed a lawsuit against Green Medicine NJ, LLC, GMNJ Properties, LLC, and the Hunterdon County Health Department on June 30 for approving a septic system for the proposed cannabis cultivation facility in West Amwell.
As reported by MyCentralJersey and Politico, the suit charges the Hunterdon County Health Department with arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable action for approving a septic system based on false representations in an engineer letter submitted to the Health Department.
Green Medicine seeks to turn a vacant property at 638 Brunswick Pike, which used to be a church and a religious school, into a 30,000 square foot cannabis cultivation facility. Green Medicine submitted an application to the Health Department in May, requesting approval of the existing septic system, which has been in place for many years and has never been used for a cannabis cultivation operation.
According to Hunterdon County Ordinance 98-1, the County Health Department is responsible for reviewing septic systems in the county. In order to approve a septic system, the Department requires that a “professional engineer writes a letter to certify the system is not malfunctioning and the new structure will not increase the gallons per day of sewage beyond the original design.” Green Medicine submitted a letter from an engineer to meet this requirement. This letter incorrectly claimed that inspections in 2017 and 2021 found “no unsatisfactory conditions.” However, the 2021 inspection by Septic Management Group found several unsatisfactory conditions. The 2021 inspection found that the first dosing tank on the septic plan did not exist. The inspection also was unable to inspect the disposal bed. Inspectors found that the conditions of the dosing system and distribution system were unsatisfactory.
Despite these findings, the Health Department, relying on the engineer’s letter, approved the existing septic system to be used for the cannabis cultivation facility. WoodMeier Farms’s lawsuit asks the court to reverse the approval and remand the application back to the Department.
Green Medicine’s application for preliminary and final site plan approval will be heard at a special public meeting of the Planning Board on July 14 at 7 p.m. at South Hunterdon High School, the application’s third hearing.
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