BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Conversations regarding Food Truck ordinances and permits, and Property Maintenance code violations highlighted Monday night’s Bloomfield Council Conference Meeting.

Township Administrator Matthew Watkins led the discussion about the Food Truck ordinance, and whether additional permits should be granted for vendors.

“We want to have some kind of mechanism in which we could provide some food trucks throughout the township, but our ordinances don’t allow for that,” Watkins said.  “They are only allowed mostly for special occasions, and there are a number of other issues associated with it that the council may want to look at.  There are four tiers of applications and a license that goes along with each tier – and with that, there are only three (ongoing) licenses that are allowed in the community each year.”

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Questions raised by council members included the congestion and safety of placing food trucks near the schools, and the business the trucks may take away from existing restaurants and eateries in the community that are already struggling due to the pandemic.

The discussion of revisions to the Property Maintenance Code was conducted concerning residents and businesses who do not care for their grounds.

“A lot of people have issues with property maintenance as many properties are really bad with trash as people are putting stuff out (for pickup) more than a day before collection,” Watkins explained.  “The provision is difficult to change as much of it is controlled by state law.  In town, we send out a notice (to the homeowner) and they have 10 days to (address the particular violation) to cut the lawn, or remove the trash, but the problem is the neighbors have to look at it for 10 more days.”

Currently in Bloomfield, it is a $75 fine for the first violation, and they can go as high as $2,000 for repeated violations.

“We feel we should be aggressive with the first violation and have it be $200, and we should be able to get them to act within 48 hours and not 10 days,” Watkins added.

In other news, Bloomfield will partner with Montclair in a Neighborhood Development Summer Youth Employment Program.

Other approvals include Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund 2020 local aid program, 2021 Essex Hudson Greenway grant application, amending a contract award to $25,000 with PPD Engineering, a 24-month renewal of large automated trash compactors contract for Big Belly, a co-op purchase of synthetic turf at Lion Gate for $212,000, an ordinance to set summer recreational program fees, an amendment of agreement with Garden State Fireworks for the Fireworks Display Contract with a new tentative date set for September 12, and a Safe and Secure Grant for the police department.

Township Attorney Michael Parlavecchio introduced an ordinance that was approved for Farrand Street/Lackawanna Deed of Dedication for a wider right of way at the end of Farrand.

Grants were accepted that add to the aid of the township budget, including CARES Act Grant, Essex County Local Arts Program Grant, Essex County Open Space Grant, and Essex County Senior Permanent Housing.

Township Engineer Paul Lasek read the awarding of a contract for Clark Avenue Roadway Restoration and Improvement Program, authorization of a resolution for Parkway Lofts Phase II, an application for Potable Water Permit, an award of contract for Lead Service Lines Phase 2 to mitigate all the lead service lines in town, and an award of contract for $18,997 for the Children's Library air conditioning service upgrade.

Councilwoman-at-Large Nina Davis was appointed acting mayor for the meeting due to the absence of Mayor Michael Venezia.

Monday’s proceedings at the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building were held with strict social distancing rules and limited seating capacity, with video livestreamed on the township’s Facebook page and WBMA-TV.

The Township Council holds a combined Regular Meeting and Conference Meeting on Monday, August 24, 6:30 pm in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building.