Sparta Responsible Development’s (SRD) mission is to connect concerned citizens who will  encourage responsible development that protects our people, our resources, and our future.
SRD supports economic development that:
· Is consistent with the scope and scale of our community 
· Engages and considers the surrounding communities
· Weighs the overall societal costs to Sussex County

Sparta Township describes our Community as “…a thriving community situated in rural Sussex County, New Jersey approximately 45 miles northwest of New York City.  Sparta covers more than 38 square miles with rolling hills, beautiful lakes, picturesque farms, and inviting residential developments.” (SpartaNJ.org).

With community awareness and engagement severely decreased during the pandemic, development pressures drastically increased and now threaten the town fabric so proudly described above.

SRD was formed to ensure that the community is fully aware and has a voice so that thoughtful discussion and engagement may take place in future development schemes of Sparta, NJ and surrounds.  We seek to ensure the long-term viability of the aforementioned “38 square miles of rolling hills, beautiful lakes, picturesque farms, and inviting residential developments.”

Current Threats:

Diamond Chip Realty

33 Demarest Rd, Sparta, NJ 07871

A sincere thank you to all for your tireless work and support, and relentless involvement.
Let’s continue to brave the icy currents and endure what storms may come, unified together, with determined resolve and hope.”
- Anand Dash – SRD, Sparta Resident
SRD is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization which has a community working group of 50
Members/Ambassadors and a Facebook discussion group of over 1,000 Members who have
joined together to encourage responsible development that protects our people, our
resources, and our future.
Our team is dedicated to preserving the unique character of Sparta and Sussex County and is giving a voice to the residents that will be affected by this project throughout the region.   
NJ Shares annual report group photos.
Barbara Gomes
Vice President

Sparta resident brings more than 20 years of nonprofit management experience to Sparta Responsible Development, with an emphasis on communications, donor development, and project management.

Her passion for helping others has led her to work with nonprofit organizations to build their capacities and grow their support base.  Barbara is a Fundraising Consultant for Match Nonprofit Consulting. Before her work at Match NPC, she worked for NJ SHARES from the time it was a start-up organization until it celebrated its 20th anniversary, which gave her the unique experience of working with utilities, government, and social service agencies throughout New Jersey and nationally.

Barbara has served on the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition Board of Trustees, the Center for Non-Profits Board in New Jersey, and the Sparta Township Communications Committee.  She adheres to the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethics.  Barbara graduated magna cum laude from Kean University in 2000, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations.

Anand Dash
President / Legal Advisor / Press Contact

A lifelong resident of Sparta and partner of Kennedys Laws Firm, brings a passion for protecting and preserving the town he loves. Anand’s practice primarily focuses on a wide variety of real estate, property, and general commercial litigation, including zoning, land use, and real property-related litigation.  Before joining the Kennedys, Anand represented individual and corporate clients in all aspects of commercial litigation with a focus on business and real estate disputes and trust and estate litigation. Anand earned his JD from Villanova University School of Law in 2006.

Anand also volunteers his time as coordinator of the Healthy Kids Running Series, Newton chapter, a national program that encourages and promotes a healthy lifestyle through the sport of running in young children.

Kathy Ebbinkhuysen

Sparta resident, nature and animal lover, Wife, and Mother who is passionate about preserving the natural beauty of our town, community, and surrounding areas. Believing that growth and progress are both needed and necessary, she underscores the importance of doing so in the right proportion (one that does not ruin our rural ways of life). Kathy has also enjoyed a career in Technology for over 20 years.

MarilynChapman - Headshot
Marilyn Chapman

Sparta resident, community advocate, and long-time environmentalist.  Marilyn, a member of the Unitarian Universalists of Sussex County in Newton, served on the “Green Sanctuary” committee for decades.  Marilyn upholds the mission to seek to nourish the spirit; to foster peace, justice, diversity, and understanding in our community and the world; and to cherish and sustain the earth and the web of life.

She brings experience in advocacy and frequently speaks at town council meetings.  Marilyn has been involved in the county-wide Eco fair, measured carbon footprint projects, hearings on the negative effects of the carbon from coal-powered sources, and the legislative wing of the Unitarians.

Marilyn is a retired nurse who spent 30 years working with patients with addiction.

Heather Diane
Social Media Director

Is a Sparta resident and community organizer. Heather brings expertise in social media communications and project management.


Peter G. Steck
Community Planning Consultant

EXPERT: Town Planning
(Hired April 5, 2022)

Engaged in private consulting as a land use planner since 1981 representing municipalities, development boards, developers, and neighborhood associations. Work performed in OVER 200 New Jersey Municipalities. Expert testimony presented in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union, Mercer, Morris, Monmouth and Sussex Counties Superior Courts and before the New Jersey Meadowland Commission (now New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, various appraisal commissions, and the New Jersey Tax Court.

He will  provide background on prudent town planning and zoning  and opine about whether Sparta’s municipal land use code and Ordinance 21-01 contemplates Diamond Chip’s proposed use as a permitted, conditional or prohibited use. 

Tom Maguire
President, Forensic Environmental Services, Inc.

EXPERT: Hydrogeology
(Hired July 5, 2022)

President of an environmental consulting firm specializing in regulatory compliance and contaminant hydrogeology, assessing and remediating contaminated soils, ground water, hydrogeological impacts and soil vapor.

He will opine on the potential negative impacts to water quality, groundwater recharge and the  Aquifer.

Rob Simon
Director, Herold Law, PA

EXPERT: Land Use Law
(Hired May 20, 2022)

Robert F. Simon’s practice includes land use regulation before local zoning and planning boards; real estate-related litigation including land use, tenancy, tax appeal, condemnation, and title actions; and commercial and residential real estate transactions. Mr. Simon has also been qualified as an expert witness in real estate litigation matters by the Superior Court and District Court of New Jersey.

Mr. Simon is handling the Complaint Neill and Anand filed in Superior Court challenging the Zoning Board’s denial of their application for interpretation.


DONATE - We urgently need funds to pay for expert witness testimony for our legal battle.

Natural Partners: Because we are fighting for policies and practices that protect the New Jersey Highlands, SRD falls under the 501(c)(3) nonprofit status of the NJ Highlands Coalition (NJHC).

Make a tax-deductible donation to the NJ Highlands Coalition with SRD in the memo using the Donate Now button or Mail your check to New Jersey Highlands Coalition, 508 Main Street, Boonton, NJ 07005.  Your contribution will aid our efforts in hiring credentialed experts to provide testimony to the Sparta Township Council, Sparta Planning Board, and Sparta Zoning Board.

TIME & TALENT - We need your time to attend and engage meetings of the Town Council, Zoning and Planning Board, plan fundraisers, research the societal costs/externalities including: traffic, environmental, etc. and to aid in developing strategies to inform the surrounding communities of this development. SIGNUP HERE

JOIN - Join our Facebook Discussion Group: JOIN HERE

Please note “SRD”

in the Memo or comment section when donating 

(This is how the New Jersey Highlands knows to put the money towards our cause)

Sparta Planning Board Meeting