Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Zoning, Planning Board vacancies troubling



Plainfield's Zoning Board of Adjustment was only able to reorganize itself Tuesday evening because a fifth member called in from South Jersey to participate via telephone.

Only four of the Board's current seven members were physically present, one shy of a quorum. Had Board member Alejandro Ruiz not phoned in, the Board could not have conducted its reorganization.

With two expired seats awaiting appointments, the Board's ability to conduct its business is put in jeopardy by the vacant seats. Plainfield's new mayor, Adrian Mapp, has yet to submit nominations for the Zoning Board of Adjustment to the Council. This means that the earliest new appointments could possibly be confirmed would be February 10 -- after the Board's February 5 meeting.

The eleven member Planning Board, which meets to reorganize tonight for 2014, faces a similar situation. Class IV member Horace Baldwin has been nominated to succeed himself, but will not be voted on until next Tuesday -- after the reorganization meeting. Two other Class IV seats whose terms are up -- member Sidney Jackson and alternate #1 Willie Faulks, Jr., -- have yet to have nominations made.

Mayor Mapp has named as his designee his Chief of Staff John Stewart, but the Council declined to put the name of his nominee for the municipal officer's  (Class II) seat -- Deputy City Administrator for Economic Development Carlos Sanchez.

In addition, the Council has yet to name its member, who holds a seat for a one-uear appointment. (Held in 2013 by Councilor Bill Reid.)

These seats are crucial because the Zoning and Planning Boards are directly concerned with development and redevelopment projects (which everyone wants to see get under way) and because state law does not allow for 'holdovers' on land use boards, meaning that the seats that expire actually become vacant.

If it's true, as David Rutherford reports, that the Council has taken upon itself to offer its own 'nomination' for the Class II seat -- an unheard of intrusion by the governing body into the prerogatives of the executive -- the new Mapp administration faces the possibility of a showdown moment before even getting off the ground.

Is this a signal to possible developers and investors that Plainfield is still not ready for prime time?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

What is happening with the mayor's email address? With all the website stuff, it does not work anymore. How does one contact the mayor as a citizen to voice support for people interested in preserving historical Plainfield and to encourage the mayor to support those who are investing their souls AND their pockets in Plainfield? The fighting in the Council MUST stop!