Government

Maplewood Township Committee Appoints Post Office Redevelopment Firm Despite Residents' Pleas

January 8, 2014 at 11:21 AM

MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The Township Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday night to designate L & M Garden State Associates, LLC, as the redeveloper for the post office site. This came after a wave of residents and merchants addressed the committee for a full hour to ask them to postpone such a vote in order to further study and consider what would be best for the Village.

“I don’t think this is a question of right and wrong,” said 67-year resident Mark Christianson.  “It is a question dealing with one of the most important pieces of property we have in the village and possibly the entire town.”

John Harvey, one of the founders of the group Engage Maplewood, asked the committee to review and consider the many discrepancies between the plan L & M has submitted and the original outline the Township had created as a guideline for the project.  Engage Maplewood had drafted a letter with 42 points of concern which it delivered to each member of the Committee (the highlights of which may be viewed here).

Sign Up for E-News

Many of the people who addressed the committee raised the issue of parking in the village as a primary concern and noted that the plan as outlined does nothing to improve the current situation and will actually make it worse.  It was pointed out that a larger Kings supermarket and 25 new residential units will bring many more cars into the core of the village, and the plan outline seems to indicate a net gain of only 10 parking spaces over the existing conditions.

“Maplewood is one of the few places in the United States where there is a sense of place,” said township native Jeremiah Birnbaum, who asked that the downtown area be designated a historic business district and criticized the plan to build a structure that would obscure the view of South Mountain from the train and become the largest building in town.  “I love this town and I am afraid for its future right now,” he said.

A number of residents also raised the issue of new residential units bringing more school-age children into town when the schools are already overcrowded.

The feeling of many were summed up well by resident Emily Zacharius, who said, “We have a roomful of people here and everyone is very nervous and concerned that we are going to make a mistake.”  She also asked that the committee be sensitive to how they communicate their decisions to the community.  She said their tone is important and their ability to make people understand the story of how this will benefit the community is paramount.

Architect Karen Nichols of KNTM Architects in East Orange made a presentation in which she outlined the process of how the eight bidders on the post office project were evaluated by her firm as an objective outside consultant.  They spent reviewed all eight plans and focused on the three finalists’ plans. They have deemed L & M to be the best choice.

“We felt that L & M was the most comprehensive and responsive to the RFP,” she said, adding that the firm has significant relevant experience for a project of this scale and type. She also said that L & M’s “narrative did exhibit an understanding of the Village and the intent of the project,” but said their plan would require more work to reduce the mass of the upper portion of the building.

There was no deliberation among committee members prior to the vote. Vic DeLuca, India Larrier, Gerry Ryan and Kathy Leventhal each acknowledged the concerns of those assembled, and explained why they were in favor of moving forward with L & M.

“We are very aware of how important this project is,” DeLuca said.  “There is no room for a mistake.  This has been a very long conversation, but the conversation is not over tonight.”  He acknowledged that the plan is “not perfect by far,” but he sees it as “the most in tune with Maplewood Village and what we are trying to achieve.”

DeLuca claimed that the next phase of the project will be more inclusive of the community as well as the Village Alliance.  He cited competitive concerns between the bidding firms for much of the secrecy during the process thus far.

This was agreed to by Ryan, who said, “The next steps in the process are going to include more public input, where we will expect more public discussion to help make the plans better.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

December 1: Maplewood's 'Coffee with a Cop'

From Maplewood's "Coffee with a Cop" event in October, Auxiliary police officers, and mother-and-daughter, Reserve. Sgt. Kimberly Tortoriello, and Daniele Tortoriello.

South Orange Police Blotter - Burglary to Garage Reported on Irving Ave.

November 30, 2016

South Orange Police Blotter as of November 30

Burglary to Garage - An Irving Ave. resident reported that between 10 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28, and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, unknown actor(s) entered her garage and stole a white & blue, 24 speed Trek bicycle. No other property appears to be missing from the garage. At approximately 10:52 a.m., the bicycle was found by a Centre Street ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Burglary and Arrest Reported

November 26 - At approximately 8:30 p.m., officers responded to a home on Essex Ave. on a reported burglary.  Five juveniles were located in the area, were identified as the burglars, and were taken into custody.  Two females age 17 from Newark, 15 and 17 year old males from Newark, and a 17 year old male from Irvington were all arrested and charged with the burglary.

November ...

South Orange Health & Fitness Challenge is Back with SOFit17

December 1, 2016

From Kate Schmidt, South Orange Recreation Department

The Village of South Orange is once again leading the charge for a healthier year ahead with SOFit17, the 3rd annual South Orange Health and Fitness Challenge. 

The theme of SOFit17 is the “Hundred Day Challenge” beginning January 20 and ending April 29. As in the past 2 years, community residents are invited ...

Maplewood Glee Club to Perform Winter Concert on Saturday, Dec. 3

The following is from the Maplewood Glee Club Facebook page

Featuring local a Cappella sensation SOULFEGE (Millburn High School) and audience favorites The BACKLOGS (MIT alumni quartet).

If you’re looking for a fun way to kick off the holiday season, the Maplewood Glee Club may have just the ticket. The group, currently celebrating its 70th year of singing, will perform its annual ...

4th and Valley Public Forum on Nov. 30

The following is from the South Orange Village Center Alliance "Village Vibe" email on Nov. 23:

You may have already heard about a proposed new mixed use development at the corner of 4th and Valley Streets. This new proposed development would include 100 apartments, including some affordable units, as well as approximately 10,000 square feet of new retail space. The developer, ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, December 3, 10:00 AM

The Salvation Army, Montclair

The 24th Annual Holiday Art & Craft Show

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Home & Garden

Sat, December 3, 12:00 PM

Springfield Free Public Library, Springfield

The Raptor Trust presents All About Owls

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_88bb2fa2fdd36f085cb2_0dad81224649a47a49d2_screen_shot_2016-11-29_at_6.09.45_pm

Sun, December 4, 10:00 AM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

American Red Cross Run for the Red in Millburn; ...

Obituary: Murray H. Ross

November 27, 2016

Murray H. Ross

Born in Glen Cove, NY on Jan. 17, 1926
Departed on Nov. 21, 2016 and resided in Maplewood, NJ

Murray H. Ross, 90 of Maplewood formerly of Carlisle, PA died at Winchester Gardens on Mon, Nov 21, 2016. 

Murray was born in Glen Cove, Long Island. He lived most of his life in Cranford, NJ before moving to Carlisle, PA. He moved to Maplewood 2 ...

Obituary: Jennifer Feinberg, Teacher at South Mountain School

Jennifer Feinberg

September 28, 1969 - November 7, 2016

 

Jennifer Stulberger Feinberg, a life-long resident of Livingston, NJ, died unexpectedly on November 7, 2016 at the age of 47. 

Jennifer, known as Jenn, was born on September 28, 1969 in Boston, MA to Dr. Eugene and Mrs. Audrey Stulberger. Jenn graduated from Livingston High School, Muhlenberg College and Bank Street ...

Search for Next Director of Special Services & Survey

November 28, 2016

The following was sent via email on Nov. 28 to the South Orange Maplewood School District Community 

Dear South Orange & Maplewood School Community,

Dr. Leroy Nunery of Atlantic Research Partners is the consultant selected to lead our search for the new Director of Special Education. The following timeline has been developed to lead us to a recommendation to the ...

South Orange Rescue Squad: We're There in Your Time of Need, But We Need Your Help

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

All of us at the South Orange Rescue Squad truly appreciate the generous support that we have received from residents in South Orange, Maplewood and the surrounding communities throughout the last few years.

Maplewood was formerly served by the Maplewood Volunteer First Aid Squad, which has disbanded after 41 years of honorable service. We are now the only ...

What to Look for in a Real Estate Lawyer

Although real estate law doesn't sound as exciting as criminal court cases, having the right real estate lawyer can make or break a deal. You should take the time to find a good one.

What qualities should you look for in a good attorney?

Do you personally know anyone who has used the attorney and has had a good experience? Does the lawyer have mostly positive online reviews? ...

Death of Missing Montclair Woman Ruled Homicide

December 2, 2016

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The death of Sarah Butler, whose body was located in the area of Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange on Thursday after being missing for more than a week, was determined to be a homicide by the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray and Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti.

Essex County ...

Concerned Citizens of Vauxhall Association Elects Officers

December 3, 2016

UNION, NJ – The nomination and election of officers was the business at hand Wednesday night at a meeting of the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Vauxhall and Vicinity Civic Association.

The purpose of the Association, as outlined in the Constitution and Bylaws, is to build a wholesome community, create an active community spirit, and encourage government and citizen cooperation, ...

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger Talks Local Travel Security at Seton Hall University

December 1, 2016

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger discussed the future of Newark International Airport and local travel security as a guest lecturer at Seton Hall on Tuesday night.

Neffenger spoke about his career as head of the TSA, as well as the success of the administration’s Instagram account @TSA, which has over 500,000 followers. He cited rehabilitating the public ...

Nearly 1.25 Million New Jerseyans Expected to Travel Over Thanksgiving: AAA

NEW JERSEY -- AAA Travel forecasts 48.7 million Americans, including nearly 1.25 million in New Jersey, will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s one million more travelers than last year, representing a 1.9 percent increase over 2015, and the most Thanksgiving holiday travelers since 2007, when 50 million people traveled.

This year’s ...

It’s a Wonderful Life – The Radio Play “POPS UP” in Union Township, Hosted by Unity Bank.

December 2, 2016

POP UP THEATER – performances in unexpected places -- continues in Union’s Downtown Center when The Theater Project presents its annual holiday production IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: The Radio Play at Unity Bank.  The Theater Project will recreate the Lux Radio Theater circa 1947 as twelve actors, a musician and one extremely overworked sound technician prepare ...

Studio 509 of Maplewood Offers Free Dance Fusion Workshop at The Connection in Summit

The Connection is hosting a free Dance Fusion Workshop on Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., led by Guada Bas and Bethany Pettigrew, co-owners of Studio 509 in Maplewood.

Dance Fusion is a mix of ballet, jazz and modern for the mover that enjoys challenging the mind and body! The class begins with a center floor warm up, continues with across ...

Studio 509 Hosts 2016 Sip and See Trunk Show on Dec. 2

Get a head start on your holiday shopping!  Studio 509 is hosting a “Sip and See Trunk Show” featuring several local entrepreneurs, wine, and nibbles, on Friday, December 2, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Studio 509 is a Maplewood fitness studio that prides itself on fostering a community that cares about health and fitness and each other. Last year, the trunk show was conceived as a ...