The needler in the haystack.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Planning Board approves Muhlenberg SED plan with conditions

Gone forever.
Two Muhlenberg-related items occupied most of the Plainfield Planning Board's Thursday meeting, with both eventually given board approval.

What appeared to be the simpler of the two -- a minor subdivision to correct an error made previously and caught by the Planning Division -- turned out to have its own little wrinkle.

The plot in question is a single family dwelling on Randolph Road that does not touch on the main hospital campus, but which was included in error in the map when the entire property was subdivided several years ago to separate out Kenyon House and the Snyder School of Nursing.

Activist Nancy Piwowar raised the issue of that the property was included in $160 million in bonds that the state floated against the entire Muhlenberg campus. JFK's counsel, Wendy Berger, objected, but was eventually overruled by board attorney Michele Donato, who suggested a condition that JFK provide a letter documenting either that the bond issue covered the subject property or that it did not and the status of its mortgage, if any. Neither attorney thought to question why that issue had not come up when the original subdivision took place several years ago.

The final site plan review for the proposed new SED (satellite emergency department) at Kenyon House was thorough and covered many details that needed resolution as well as conditions imposed by the board.

Planning Director Bill Nierstedt first went over a list of items that had been resolved between JFK's last appearance before the board and this one. The list included --

  • Timelines;
  • Street trees;
  • Police and Fire approvals;
  • Posting of a performance bond; and
  • Engineering requirements.
Nierstedt also noted that the Union County Planning Board had approved a left-hand turn out of the property onto southbound Park Avenue (Park Avenue is a county road and under the county board's purview).

Five remaining issues were hashed out between the applicant and the board, including --
  • Landscaping/Lighting -- JFK explained its plans and answered questions;

  • Signage -- JFK explained the 'wayfarer signage' planned for the site itself;

  • Marketing/Community Outreach -- Board member Emmett Swan probed JFK over its marketing and outreach efforts as outlined in a July 28 letter (kindly copied and supplied to the audience by the board secretary);

  • Highway 'H' signs -- This item generated considerable back-and-forth, both about the contents and the relative size of the portion indicating the sign was for the SED and the portion denoting its JFK connection, as well as some suggestions for locations; and

  • Emergency Power Generator -- JFK explained a pad was included in the plans for siting a future generator, but that the SED would rely on a pair of generators housed in the old hospital's power plant until such time as that building was torn down, when a new natural-gas fueled unit would be purchased for Kenyon House alone.
At long last, and after comments and questions from audience members including Dr. Harold Yood, Nancy Piwowar, Deborah Dowe, Dottie Gutenkauf, Alan Goldstein, Tom Kaercher, Lizzie Faraone and schools superintendent Anna Belin Pyles (sorry if I left anyone out), the board gave its approval with a roll call vote.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

The Hospital "H" signs are still up along local roads. There is one on South Ave at Hetfield Ave in Scotch Plains (West bound).
Therefore old signs exist and should be accounted for.