HOMEOWNERS DISMISS LAWSUIT AGAINST RIDGE BASEBALL CLUB
Updated: February 5, 2024
This morning the several homeowners who filed suit against Ridge Baseball Club (RBC) and Bernards Township seeking to invalidate RBC’s lease with the Township for the Ridge Baseball Complex filed a voluntary Notice of Dismissal with the Somerset County Superior Court, terminating their lawsuit!
“Ridge Baseball Club is thrilled that the plaintiffs have decided to dismiss the lawsuit. We cannot express enough thanks to all the community members who reached out and voiced their overwhelming support for RBC over the past week. We also want to thank our local elected officials. It was truly humbling. We are all blessed to live in a community as supportive as Basking Ridge,” stated Kevin Larner, RBC’s president.
“It is now time to put this entire unfortunate incident behind us and focus on what is important, the kids. The RBC Board and all the volunteers who support RBC are happy that we can now turn 100% of our attention to our true mission: providing the best baseball program possible to the boys and girls of Basking Ridge.”
January 30, 2024
On January 26th, owners of eight residential properties in Basking Ridge filed a lawsuit against Ridge Baseball Club (RBC) and Bernards Township seeking to invalidate the Township’s December 12, 2023 Ordinance extending for 20 years and amending RBC’s lease of the Ridge Baseball Complex which was set to expire this May. The residents who filed the lawsuit, the majority of whom own property on Fenwick Place – a development that did not exist until 2021 – are seeking to annul the decades-old arrangement between RBC and Bernards Township that has saved Bernards Township taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and through which RBC manages and maintain the Complex at no cost to taxpayers and provides a baseball program to the boys and girls in our community.
“Ridge Baseball Club is appalled by the actions of these residents and plans to fight this lawsuit for the benefit of the children in our community,” said Kevin Larner, RBC’s President. “It saddens and disgusts me that a few disgruntled residents have taken this action. There is an endemic problem in this country called “Not In My Backyard” and this lawsuit is the worst example I have ever seen. I call on all Bernards Township residents to denounce this lawsuit, to support our Township Committee as it defends its lawful actions and fights for the children in our community, and to let these residents know that their entitled and selfish attempts to bully RBC and the Township are not welcome in this community.”
These property owners, many of whom willingly and knowingly bought homes across the street from the Complex - a pre-existing decades-old baseball complex that has four fields, lights, and batting cages - now argue in their lawsuit that the baseball played our children at the RBC Complex “constitutes a public nuisance” and impacts the “health and safety of neighboring residents.”
“RBC did not object when the developer sought to destroy an entire forest of trees to build many of the plaintiffs’ multi-million-dollar homes creating the Fenwick subdivision directly across the street from our Complex. Indeed, we welcomed the development and permitted the developer to use our parking lots to stage its equipment and supplies. I guess this is how our new neighbors have decided to thank us,” Larner continued. “To be clear, this lawsuit has only one goal: to shut down RBC which will cause immeasurable harm to our Township that will negatively impact the children of our community for years to come.”
RBC’s current lease for the Complex was entered in 2004 and is set to expire in May 2024. During 2023, RBC worked with the Bernards Township Committee to extend and amend its lease so that RBC can continue to provide a valuable public service, while meeting the changing needs of the community and addressing neighbor concerns. At the recommendation of the Township Committee, in August 2023, RBC agreed to run a Fall pilot program to allow the Township Committee to gather facts, have a better understanding of the use of the Complex, and to observe the fields first hand, all so our elected officials could make a reasoned and informed decision about the lease extension. After RBC received no complaints during the pilot program and after Township Committee members had completed their due diligence, on December 12, 2023, the Township approved an Ordinance extending and amending the existing lease. To further address the concerns raised by the plaintiffs, RBC agreed to spend tens of thousands of dollars by installing a noise-remediation system in its batting cages and inspecting and, if necessary, adjusting the field lights to ensure proper alignment.
“RBC worked diligently with the Township Committee over the course of more than 10 months and agreed to delay the Ordinance for nearly four months so the plaintiffs’ concerns could be properly explored. Unfortunately, our good faith agreement to directly address the primary concerns raised by these residents – batting cage noise and field light glare – wasn’t enough,” Larner stated. “On several occasions over the past year these residents threatened a lawsuit, claiming money was no obstacle, and it is now clear that they will not be satisfied until the Complex and RBC no longer exist. Notwithstanding this distraction, we are moving forward with our 2024 season and expect an amazing baseball season for the boys and girls in Basking Ridge.”