Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Will Monday's Council be a snoozer? Maybe not.

The search for 'just and capable' continues...

Monday evening's Plainfield City Council meeting may be a snoozer -- or not.

Even though all the agenda items were moved to the business agenda without dissent at last Monday's agenda-setting session, there is no guarantee that this week's meeting will be boring. Readers can view the agenda online here.

There are several resolutions dealing with redevelopment, two concerning purchase of fire vehicles (a pumper and a ladder truck), and a new human resources management program with an annual $79K price tag.

As explained last week, the Public Safety request for three high-def dome cameras is for the city's three public swimming pools (Hannah Atkins, Rushmore and Seidler). The cameras would provide night-time surveillnace of the pools, which currently have personnel stationed at them to ward off unauthorized night-time use.

There is one new item (which will have to receive a minimum of five votes to be put on the agenda). That is R301-16, "in support of Union County's renovation of existing soccer fields at Cedar Brook Park".

The project got off to a bumpy start last November (see my post here), when the County presented its original proposal to the Historic Preservation Commission, but was ill-prepared to answer questions from the commission and the public.

The County did better at the Planning Board's review in December (see my post here), but the Board's attorney, Michelle Donato, underscored that the County would need to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the state (and, if federal funds are involved, from the national level).

The resolution's language is misleading. The "renovations" are far more extensive than the County is owning up to. When the proposal was reviewed by Plainfield's Historic Preservation Commission, one of the objections was that night lighting on 70-foot poles, bleachers, a permanent scoreboard, and the removal of trees would change the character of the park dramatically, a fact which this resolution ignores.

Secondly, the County was supposed to get review and sign off from the state's historic preservation authorities. There is no mention of this condition or the receipt of a Certificate of Appropriateness in the resolution. The Council should be advised of the status of this condition before taking its vote.

Word at City Hall is that preparations for the LIVE broadcasting of City Council meetings is proceeding apace and may even begin this Fall. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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