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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Plainfield planning official elected to state planners group leadership

Ron Scott Bey, chair of Plainfield's Planning Board,
with Brian Kasler, executive director of
NJ Planning Officials, at the 103rd League Conference.
(Photo courtesy Siddeeq El-Amin.)


Ron Scott Bey, chairman of Plainfield's Planning Board, was elected treasurer of New Jersey Planning Officials, the association of NJ planning and zoning officials, at the 103rd annual conference of the NJ League of Municipalities in Atlantic City this past week.

Scott Bey, who is currently serving on the organization's board o f directors, will now take a seat on the Executive Board. Elected by the organization's general membership, Scott Bey will serve in the office for three years.

Ron was appointed to the Planning Board by the late Mayor Al McWilliams, and has served for fifteen years.

When his length of service was remarked upon, he pointed out that both former chair Ken Robertson and current member Gordon Fuller have service records of at least thirty years -- a sign that the volunteers who serve on Plainfield's land use boards (including the Zoning Board of Adjustment) relish their duties and the contribution they make to the community.

When asked about high points during his term of service, Scott Bey pointed to the re-examination of the city's Master Plan and the designation of two Transit Village zones, for the design of which the city won an award.

Looking to the future, Ron is excited about the prospects for continued development activity downtown, particularly in the block bounded by West 2nd Street and Front Street between Madison Avenue and Central Avenue.

One of the possibilities for that area is  banquet hall, a facility that would be a boon to the city, the lack of which has been an embarassment every time a special event needs to be located elsewhere because Plainfield lacks a venue.

Another prospect he finds exciting is the possibility of attracting a microbrewery or brewpub to the downtown area.

Since the laws changed in 2012, loosening restrictions on  craft or microbreweries ane brewpubs, there has been a surge of growth throughout the Garden State.

Craft breweries are those that produce less than 6 million barrels a year. Whereas formerly they were limited to giving free samples to those who toured the facility and could only sell two six-packs to a visitor, they now can sell beer by the pint and customers can by up to a full keg to take home. The changes have helped microbreweries expand greatly.

Brewpubs on the other hand are restaurants with a brewery attached. Brewpubs may now produce up to 10,000 barrels (as opposed to 3,000 formerly), may hold up to 10 licenses, and may sell their beer to wholesalers -- ensuring distribution throughout the state and to restaurants other than their own.

Ron is very upbeat about the prospects for continued improvement of the business climate throughout the Queen City under the leadership of just re-elected Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

The Planning Board meets on the first and third Thursday of each month (there are some exceptions) at City Hall Library. Meetings start at 7:30 PM and the public is welcome and may ask questions during the conduct of the board's business. For more information, call the Planning Division at (908) 753-3391.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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