MILLBURN, NJ - Ice cream and parking were the topics for discussion when the Township Committee met Tuesday night.
The governing body was considering a request made earlier this summer by a 8-year-old baseball player to allow ice cream trucks to ply their wares in the township. Surrounded by family and friends, he noted that when the snack bar at Gero Park closes for the season, no such treats are available.
The township currently has an ordinance in place that prohibits sale of goods from vehicles, but during its deliberations the committee indicated a willingness to change that ordinance.
Mayor Sandra Haimoff opened the discussion by noting the township used to have an ordinance allowing ice cream trucks.
“I can’t tell you how many people have told me about it,” she said.
Committee member Sari Greenberg said, “As the parent of two young girls… I think this is definitely something that contributes to the sense of community. Having said that, I have some very serious concerns about safety.”
She pointed to some of the smaller, winding streets in the community, but indicated that the trucks could be located at a fixed place such as Gero Park.
Committee member Ted Bourke said he would want to give consideration to non-profit organizations such as booster clubs that sell food and not allow the trucks to compete with them.
Haimoff said, “Personally, I love ice cream. I see absolutely no problem…. However, we have to be careful in drafting an ordinance.” She mentioned that the trucks should not be allowed to interfere with school functions such as Strawberry Festivals.
Business administrator Tim Gordon suggested the township make up a calendar that licensees would have to follow.
Attorney Christopher Falcon suggested the township could consider starting with a pilot program and issuing a limited number of licenses. Ultimately, the committee decided to allow its attorney to draft an ordinance.
Regarding parking, committee member Robert Tillotson reported the new deck at the corner of Essex Street and Lackawanna Place is open and valet parking for commuters in Lot 7 will be discontinued next month. He said he and township administrators will make a final walk-through to determine if any changes are needed.
During the public comment time, resident Steven Kirschenbaum came forward to ask why commuters must park on the third level. He was told the arrangement is to accommodate shoppers and business users who flow in and out more often.
Kirschenbaum also described several problem spots with pedestrians and traffic during rush hour, and Gordon said he would ask police officers to observe the situation in the evening as well as the morning.
Also at the session, firefighter Joseph Infantini was introduced and sworn in. Chief Michael Roberts noted the department is once again fully staffed.
In addition, Harry Delgado of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police announced that Millburn has received accreditation from the organization. Only about one-third of the 470 agencies in the state are accredited, he noted.
Delgado said that to receive accreditation, the local agency had to meet 112 state and national standards. Accredited agencies are better able to defend against lawsuits and citizen complaints, he added.
“You have indeed one of the best departments in the state,” he said in presenting a certificate to department leaders.