Madison Planning Board Determines Green Village Road School Property Meets Criteria for Redevelopment

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Susan Blickstein, the planning consultant who gave the presentation to the Board
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MADISON, NJ - The Green Village Road School property meets statutory criteria for redevelopment, members of the Madison Planning Board determined during its Tuesday night meeting at Borough Hall.

The board members expressed unanimous verbal support for a motion to recommend that the site, which sits along Kings Road and Green Village Road, be designated as a redevelopment area based on a report presented by Borough Planning Consultant Susan Blickstein.

“I think the report was pretty comprehensive and well documented that statutory requirements we relied on were fulfilled,” Planning Board Member Steven Tombalakian said.

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The building was constructed in 1948, but has not functioned as a school since the 1970s. Major improvements at the site ceased in the mid-1990s, according to Blickstein.

The satisfaction of one or more items on a list of criteria stipulated by the New Jersey Redevelopment and Housing Law qualifies a site for redevelopment area consideration. The Green Village Road School property fits more than one requirement-the building has deteriorated and the site’s design has become obsolete, according to Blickstein’s report.

Blickstein cited a list of problems that included steam pipe leaks and outdated windows.

“They’re [the windows] substandard,” Blickstein said. “They’re single paned, in fact, many of them have broken glass and signs that say ‘broken, do not open’.”

Parts of the roof have shown evidence of leaks, and electrical service is less than adequate, she said.

“It [the electrical service] contains fuses, as the main distribution equipment, rather than circuit breakers-that’s how outdated it is,” Blickstein said.

Plumbing is also a problem in the building, according to Blickstein’s report.

“The drinking fountains and urinals are actually covered in dark plastic to prevent use because they’re leaking and inoperable,” she said.

The site’s design, particularly with parking and access, is also problematic, Blickstein said. The only entrance to the property’s parking lot is off of Green Village Road.

“There’s parallel parking on the south side-right when you come in, it starts immediately, and one row of angled parking to the north of the driveway, and it starts immediately, and the driveway itself is very narrow,” Blickstein said. “If the parking lot was full, you would not actually be able to have a car or an emergency service vehicle, enter or exit the site if someone was backing out, so that design certainly results in a potentially unsafe condition.”

The property also lacks a fire lane that runs around the perimeter of the entire building.

The board will vote formally on redevelopment designation of the site once it drafts a resolution, Tombalakian said.

The Green Village School Property is part of a Special Use District that it is split into two subzones. Permitted uses in the first subzone include the development of townhouses, multi-family residences, and a Boutique hotel. The second subzone can be used for retail and service development, among other purposes at ground floor levels.

Blickstein conducted the report through visits to the site and in collaboration with property owners.

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