Council says goodbye to police chief and addresses road work

Lieber retires after 43 years in various department roles.

Moorestown Township’s council acknowledged the retirement of Police Chief Lee Lieber at its March 28 meeting.

“Moorestown has been very fortunate and I would say very unique (in) that we have probably had one of the longest serving law enforcement officers in the state of New Jersey,” said Township Manager Kevin Aberant.

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Lieber has been with the police department for more than 43 years and has served as traffic officer, detective, detective sergeant, lieutenant/acting director of police, township emergency management coordinator and first K-9 handler.

“I recognize how lucky Moorestown has been to have you,” said Mayor Nicole Gillespie. “We are so grateful, and you have certainly made your mark here … We are grateful that you’ve made such a great history as chief. So thank you for everything you’ve done.”

Council also discussed a bond ordinance that would appropriate $900,000 and distribute $460,750 for improvements to Cox and McElwee roads. After the township authorized engineering firm Pennoni to submit a New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Municipal Aid Grant for the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, it was awarded DOT funds in the amount of $415,000 for the road repairs.

For the project to be up to DOT standards, both roads need to be widened, which accounts for a cost increase from $415,000. Council agreed on Feb. 28 to proceed with funding.

“The primary purpose of this is not widening McElwee Road,” Aberant explained. “This is in large part an overlay. The reason there will be what I would refer to as ‘spot widening’ is to conform to state regulations.”

Moorestown has designated four roads – Cox, McElwee and Garwood, as well as Haines Drive – as “scenic roads” that some community members said should remain as is.

“I’m here to make a plea to keep McElwee Road as is,” said resident Patricia Radey. “Do not spoil the charm by widening it. If you care to fill in a few potholes and put some stones along the edge, that’s okay, but no more.”

“I think it’s important that the council sort of slow this down and make sure they don’t compromise (this) scenic resource,” said resident William Parkhill. “ … I do think there’s alternatives that can be explored prior to issuing and authorizing this bond.”

“I realize progress is necessary as more and more people live in this area, but there definitely is a lot of value to having that scenic byway, and I think ultimately something like that should be maybe the priority to preserve that,” said resident Mark Russek.

Pertaining to Ordinance 3-2022, council voted on a second reading at its April 11 meeting.

Earlier in the March meeting, council discussed updated reports.

“Last week (March 22), we had our Lenola public information center,” said councilman Quinton Law. “We were able to see, for the first time, the Lenola Streetscape plan and what to expect in a physical form.”

“ … We talked about this year being the year of the environment, and we were going to have different themes each quarter,” said Gillespie. “We’re wrapping up our first quarter, where we focused on sustainable energy use.”

“As you may know, there’s a plastic-bag ban coming in May (to) the township,” she added. “ … One of the things that we’re going to do to sort of help that effort along is promote reducing use of disposable single-use plastic water bottles.

“We will have some information out on that soon.”

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