SOMERSET, NJ -  At Tuesday night’s Township Council meeting, which saw the return of Township Councilman-at-large Rajiv Prasad, the council unanimously passed ordinances adding three patrol officers to the Franklin Police Department, allowing tattoo shops in Franklin and vacating township ownership of Stone Place.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Environmental Commission gave out its Environmental Stewardship Awards to former Councilman John Clyde and the Franklin Board of Education, for their dedication to the township’s green spaces and work with the commission. 

During the public discussion portion of the meeting, residents impacted by recent changes that disallow left turns onto portions of Easton Avenue voiced concerns with the change. They said the move increased the amount of overall vehicle traffic and that these drivers attempt U-turns as they try to get out of the many dead-ending streets in the area. Some also lamented that they now had to travel a greater distance to get out of their neighborhoods. 

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Addressing the concerns of residents, Township Manager Robert Vornlocker stressed the impracticality of adding another stop light in the area, citing the proposed traffic light’s proximity to an existing light at Cedar Grove Lane and the tendency for traffic lights to increase rear-end accidents. He also recommended that the council not rescind the ordinance given the high volume of traffic on Easton Avenue and the number of accidents and fatalities that occurred in the area. 

Related article: Easton Avenue Left Turn Prohibitions Fully Adopted, But Jurisdictional Conflicts Leave Future Of The Corridor Undetermined

“There are a great deal of people traveling down Easton Avenue every day and the left turn has reached a point from those side streets that it’s just not a safe movement,” said Vornlocker. 

However, Vornlocker and members of the council told residents that they would look into fixes for the issues facing residents.

“We can look to create a safer environment for those residents of John E. Busch who are having the issues,” Vornlocker said. “I won't dismiss them, they very well may exist, but we have to look at what the greater picture is and we can certainly look at the smaller one here and see if there's some relief that can be granted but I don’t recommend that these ordinances be rescinded.”

The council also passed three ordinances on first reading at Tuesday’s meeting. 

If these ordinances are passed at the Dec. 11 council meeting mortgage discharges will be handled administratively and no longer require individual resolutions, a non-solicitation list will be created in the township so residents can opt out from door-to-door commercial soliciting and stops signs will be added to the intersections of Pierce Street and Cottontail Lane, Memorial Drive and Cottontail Lane, and Varga Lane and Cottontail Lane, which would create three all-way stops on Cottontail Lane.

Editor's note: Article updated with the correct spelling of John E. Busch street.  

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