Springfielder
Find more about Weather in Springfield, NJ

Legal Questions Raised About Former Democrat Mayor’s Fence

By on May 1 2013.
Share this post...
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0
65 Redwood Road Fence

65 Redwood Road Fence

Almost eight years have passed since then-Mayor Sy Mullman, a Democrat, lost his last election in an effort to keep his seat on the Springfield Township Committee.  However, his influence and clout are being exposed by his neighbor who claims that he erected a new fence without obtaining necessary permits and township approvals to allow for its construction that does not comply with local zoning ordinances.

The 2005 campaign was riddled with innuendo about politically-connected people that Mullman assisted, appointed or hired who became known as “Sy’s Guys”.  The campaign also highlighted many of his criticized failures.  Since his defeat, Mullman has been forgotten by most Springfield residents but it seems that he has not been forgotten by his political allies on the Township Committee who defended his latest controversial and questionable actions.

65 Redwood Road

65 Redwood Road

Mullman lives at 65 Redwood Road, a corner property that meets Hemlock Terrace at the end of South Gate.  The property adjacent to the fence in question, 46 Hemlock Terrace, is owned by Sanford Weinger.  Known as “Sandy” by many people who frequently interact with him in Town Hall, Weinger is regularly seen at Township Committee meetings stubbornly questioning officials about a variety of issues.  At the last Township Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 30th, Weinger again took to the podium to question Democrat Mayor David Amlen and his Township Attorney appointee, Neil Dworkin, about the new fence erected by Mullman in April.  Weinger raised the issue about the location of the fence since the property is a corner lot.  Corner lots pose the added challenge of determining what zoning ordinances apply to the exposed perimeters.  According to Chapter 35, Section 22.1 of the Springfield Ordinances, fences are not permitted in the front yard of any residence.  Weinger pointed out that the fence does not comply with the ordinances and brought it to the attention of Township officials.  In response, Mullman was then referred to the Zoning Board of Adjustment to seek a variance in order to obtain approval to keep his fence.  Weinger objected to that course of action insisting Mullman should have first obtained that approval which would have required notice to nearby properties and a public hearing before he erected the fence.  Amlen and Dworkin defended the change of protocol and pointed out that if the Board denies Mullman’s application, he could appeal the decision or remove the fence.  Weinger was told that this happens when residents erect structures without knowing that an ordinance exists to regulate the construction.  This did not please Weinger who pointed out that Mullman was “intelligent” and should have known he also needed to apply for a permit.  By applying for a permit from the Township, Weinger claims Mullman would have been told that the fence was not in compliance and could not be built without first applying for a variance from the Board of Adjustment.  Weinger then proceeded to question Amlen and Dworkin about the second alleged violation of the permit process.  He argued that even with the special circumstances surrounding Mullman’s variance application, the former Mayor did not apply for a permit or pay the related fees to construct the fence.  Weinger asked about the penalties for failure to obtain a permit and what action the Township would take against Mullman.  Amlen and Dworkin both gave vague responses about the fines and Dworkin explained that it is the responsibility of the Municipal Prosecutor to pursue the offense.  The current Prosecutor, a Democrat appointee of Mayor Amlen’s, replaced Amlen’s first political appointee who resigned amid a Springfielder.com expose.

Observers are quick to characterize this scandal as yet another political blunder by Mayor David Amlen and former Mayor Sy Mullman, while some even see this as local corruption.  Behind the scenes, Mullman has maintained his political network.  His wife, Cheryl Mullman, was reappointed by Amlen for another five year term to the Library Board of Trustees.  After his election loss, Sy Mullman was appointed to the Planning Board for a four year term.  In 2011, Democrat Mayor Hugh Keffer appointed Mullman to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the same Board that will decide on Mullman’s application.  The Attorney for the Board at the time was Neil Dworkin, who is currently serving as the Township Attorney.  In 2011, Keffer also appointed Muftao as a Prosecutor.  Muftao is currently the Prosecutor and according to Dworkin, he is responsible for following up on the alleged permit violation.  Mullman resigned from the Board of Adjustment in 2012 and received an appointment to the Recreation Committee in 2013.  Mullman’s experience is the reason for skepticism about the defense and innocence of his actions.



We are happy to publish your news releases, investigate tips and list your events on the Springfielder.com Community Calendar!  We would love to include your photos with our posts as well and we will make sure you are given credit as a contributor. Contact us.

Stay up-to-date on Springfield news by connecting with Springfielder.com on Facebook and Twitter.  Spread the word about Springfielder.com - you put the Springfield in Springfielder!

Share this post...
Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0
Filed under Top Stories, Township.
Advertise With Us
Copyright © 2013 Springfielder. All Rights Reserved.