Egg Harbor Township had argued against the move, saying it would greatly harm the township economically and socially, and benefit the homeowners only economically, since they stood to pay significantly lower property taxes on their homes in Longport, which does not have a school system.
"The court has carefully examined all the legal issues and considered all the arguments," Mendez wrote. "The court has also carefully reviewed the entire record. The court has concluded that refusal of Egg Harbor Township to consent to the petition was not arbitrary or unreasonable."
The homeowners, on the other hand, would save almost $18,000 in property taxes a year, based on 2015 numbers, according to the opinion. In 2015, it said the average property assessment in Seaview Harbor was $873,700.
Based on 2014 numbers, Mendez said, the average annual property tax bill would fall from $20,755 to $3,347. But Mendez said court decisions have not favored allowing deannexation in pursuit of tax savings, also called "tax shopping."
Former Mayor James "Sonny" McCullough, who lived in Seaview Harbor for decades while mayor of Egg Harbor Township, said Tuesday night he had warned the residents not to waste their money pursuing secession.
"For many years, my neighbors in Seaview Harbor asked me about the move to Longport, which would save a great deal of (property) tax dollars because there is no school in Longport," said McCullough. "I told them not to waste their money — judges will never rule in their favor."
McCullough said he abstained from voting on everything that came up between the Planning Board and the Township Committee regarding the secession effort.
"Sadly it cost my former neighbors a great deal of money and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the general taxpayers of Egg Harbor Township," McCullough said.
The lawsuit attempting against Egg Harbor Township and the township committee, trying to force the township to accept the loss of Seaview Harbor, was brought by the Seaview Harbor Realignment Committee LLC, John Dabek and Dian Dabek, Edward McGlinchey and Virginia McGlinchey, Joseph Stewart and Pamela Stewart.