August 21, 2013 at 4:18 PM
MILLBURN, NJ - An 8-year-old baseball player came before the Millburn Township Committee Tuesday night to petition its members to allow ice cream trucks in the municipality.
Accompanying him were about a dozen friends and a handful of parents.
“Early this summer while playing All-Star baseball for Millburn, I noticed that other towns had ice cream trucks or snack bars, but we had none,” said Peyton Conn of Western Drive. “It was really hot and I wanted something to cool myself down.”
The present ordinance prohibits selling and delivering merchandise from parked vehicles.
Peyton said he asked his mother and she said call the town. The first person he spoke with was Timothy Gordon, township administrator. He suggested Peyton write a letter to the Township Committee and the committee invited him to come talk about the situation.
In preparation, Peyton continued, he called seven neighboring towns. Six of them allow ice cream trucks.
“There are so many reasons why ice cream trucks would be good for Millburn,” Peyton said. “Number one: It builds strong community and sense of neighborhood. Kids would come out and start playing.”
Peyton noted the Gero Park snack bar is closed all summer and those attending games would welcome treats before and after the games. He added that having the trucks would allow children to spend their tooth fairy money without driving.
He also suggested the trucks could carry nut-free and healthy choice options, and the trucks might create summer jobs for local teens.
“My mom and dad told me that they remember having fun with neighbors while waiting at the curb getting ice cream every summer,” Peyton concluded. “Remember ice cream’s cool and yummy.”
Mayor Sandra Haimoff responded by saying, “I want to compliment you and tell you that it’s probably one of the best presentations that has come before this Township Committee in the time I’ve been sitting here. You did your research, you spoke beautifully, very articulately, and I’m very, very impressed.”
She then explained that if the township were to change the present ordinance, created in 1967, it would not be limited just to ice cream trucks. The ordinance also involves a safety issue, she said, as many of the township’s streets are not conducive to children running out.
“I’m not going to say out of hand this is an impossible thing,” the mayor said, adding that bringing a responsible group of supporters along was also impressive.
Haimoff promised to ask the police department to take a look at the ordinance and see if it is still valid or could be changed. Gordon said he would get copies of ordinances from other towns.
“You’ll hear from us in a few weeks,” Haimoff said.
In other business, the governing body adopted an ordinance correcting provisions of the development regulations and zoning ordinance. Haimoff said this corrected some clerical errors.
A discussion ensued when a resident asked about a resolution before the committee authorizing a telecommunications company to install its optic fibers on existing telephone, electric or cable poles in the public rights-of-way.
Committee member Robert Tillotson expressed concern that companies keep on adding cables on utility poles.
“There’s a significant amount of wire on our poles,” he noted. “I don’t think this is being monitored.”
The committee voted to allow the fiber installation but agreed to send a letter to the state’s Board of Public Utilities to further investigate the township’s authority on pole usage.
The governing body also heard a presentation on a smartphone application created by the township to publicize its activities. The application will allow residents to receive news and information on services and attractions and interact with various departments for service requests.
The application will also offer an alert section for events such as road closures.