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Thursday, December 17, 2015

County snubs Preservation Commission on Cedar Brook Park plans, expected before Planning Board tonight

Union County's proposal includes new artificial turf fields,
bleachers, fencing, lighting and drainage improvements.

Union County officials snubbed
Plainfield's Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) Tuesday evening, refusing to come back to the table to answer further questions by the commission on the County's proposed Cedar Brook Park improvements.

Chairperson Bill Michelson recounted various phone conversations and memoranda exchanged since the November hearing, which was inconclusive due to the lateness of the hour and further information sought by the commission (see post on that meeting here).

At the end of the November meeting, Michelson says Assistant Union County Counsel Kevin Campbell accused him of a conflict of interest after Michelson revealed he was representing a group opposed to the county's plans to build a stadium and other changes to Rahway River Park.

Michelson made the disclosure during the county's presentation after asking Campbell if any of the representatives there that evening were also involved in the Rahway River Park matter. When Campbell said 'no', Michelson said, 'Good, because I represent the group opposed to that project'.

More importantly, Campbell claims the HPC has no jurisdiction over the project. Contention over this claim ultimately involved Corporation Counsel David Minchello and Planning Board attorney Michele Donato. Minchello sided with the County. Donato, a highly respected land use attorney, was brought in to mediate the matter. According to Michelson, Donato affirmed the HPC's role in issuing a Certificate of Appropriateness.

The county is expected to appear before the Planning Board at this evening's meeting, 7:30 PM in City Hall Library. The Planning Board's review is required, but it can only make suggestions to the County.

Planning Board meetings are open to the public and opportunity is always given for questions and comments. The County's proposed plans are on file in the Planning Division office on the second floor of City Hall and are available for inspection up to 4:30 PM.

Parking and entrance to tonight's meeting are in the lot at the rear of City Hall, Watchung Avenue at East 6th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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