The needler in the haystack.

Friday, August 21, 2015

South Avenue project wins final site plan approval

Representatives of South Avenue developer (facing camera) answer questions
Thursday. Board members (backs to camera, L to R)
are Siddeeq El-Amin, Ken Robertson and Sean McKenna.

Despite Olddoc's challenge to dissenting Plainfield City Council members to come out and ask their questions at Thursday's Planning Board meeting, the only Councilor present was Cory Storch, who sits on the Planning Board.

The room was full and several residents asked questions about the project. As always, there were worries about the sufficiency of parking. But also on the list were concerns about ADA-compliant apartments and the sewer hookups.

Planning Board chair Ron Scott Bey answered them one by one. Tenants would have a designated number of parking spaces stipulated in their rental contract; offsite (NOT on-street) accommodations for excess vehicles would be the tenant's responsibility.

Representatives from JMF, the developers, reassured resident Nancy Piwowar that ADA conditions would be met, and further that all units were capable of being converted to accessible units.

The chair noted that the investigation into the sewer hookup question was ongoing, and that the matter would come before the Planning Board once an agreement was reached. Everyone agrees the sewer system will be in need of upgrading to meet the extra burden. The responsibility for that will fall on the developers once costs are worked out.

With few questions from Planning Board members, a roll call vote of the five members present who were eligible to vote on the proposal (out of 7, two were not present), the final site plan approval was unanimous.

Now, the ball is back in the Council's court.

Saying they were "left out of the loop" in the deelopment of the PILOT agreement, the Council blocked the project at last Monday's business meeting.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for the developer to close on the purchase of the eleven properties to assemble the site, and the financing for the project. (It should be noted this is the first large project in my memory where the developer is NOT seeing state subsidies.)

I smiled when the chairperson said of the parking issue, "Maybe they [the tenants] will have to do like they do in Montclair or other places and rent a garage space."

Being compared positively to Montclair?

It's been a long time since that has happened. Ah, progress!

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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