Little Falls Council Approves Singac Section For Redevelopment, Plans To Expand Downtown Parking

Pictured is Jeffrey Janota, Little Falls land use planner, who gave a presentation made to council members on the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the Singac section of town. Credits: Tina Pappas
Pictured is Arnold Korotkin, local resident and community activist, who spoke during the open public comment portion of the recent Township Council meeting, inquiring about plans to expand parking. Credits: Tina Pappas

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - The Township Council approved a resolution designating an industrial area of the Singac section as in need of redevelopment and rehabilitation at its Sept. 25 meeting. 

Jeffrey Janota, Little Falls land use planner, gave a presentation on the redevelopment study of the area to council members. He gave a similar presentation to the township's planning board on Aug. 3, during which time board members approved a recommendation identifying a total of 15 parcels in the zone which met the requirements for redevelopment and rehabilitation designation, according to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.

In order to designate a redevelopment area, a municipal governing body must first authorize the planning board by resolution, to determine whether the proposed area meets statutory criteria.

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Janota had said at the Aug. 3 meeting that all of the lots within the study area met the criteria, which were approved and recommended. He added that a non-condemnation redevelopment study was being conducted, which meant no eminent domain was on the table. Eminent domain refers to the power of a state or national government to take private property for public use.

The area, which covers all block and lots in the zone located between Dewey and South Grey Rock Avenues, is currently classified as light industrial mix of small residential use and three commercial uses. The resolution needed to go before the council to receive final recommendations for approval. The next step is to identify uses of both standards of open space requirements and overall design layout of the area. A public hearing is set for the Nov. 2 planning board meeting.

Janota, employed by the firm H2M, located in Parsippany, has worked in the township as a planner for eight years.

According to Mayor James Damiano, more studies in the Singac section are being considered.

"I intended to have several more studies performed in areas that are in need of redevelopment and rehabilitation over the next couple of months," he explained. "The hope is that by promoting non-condemnation development, it will bring additional ratables into the town through redevelopment, which will help to offset the tax base that we have in town."

According to Janota's preliminary investigation report, the township adopted a master plan in June 2002, which entails that one of the major planning issues identified was to "maintain central business district vitality."

Designated Parking Area Expansion

Damiano reported that the council will soon be presented with plans to finalize and complete the parking lot of the former municipal building/police station and civic center, on Warren Street.

"We are looking to add parking there, which will serve several purposes," Damiano said. "One of them is to service the library, which seems to be getting busier and busier."

He added that parameters are needed in the lot to designate spots and utilize the space available for the utmost amount of parking to serve the area. He said that the council also plans to take control of the old police station building in order to move forward on final plans determining the best future use for the site, which is located on Stevens Avenue.

"This has been a topic that has been in review for a number of years now," he added.  

Arnold Korotkin, local resident and community activist, inquired about plans for the 60 Stanley St. property, which was purchased in July by the town for $200,000, by using other municipal funds other than a bond issuance. Damiano responded stating that there may be other properties that could be possibly purchased in the vicinity of Stanley Street, including the possibly of the PNC Bank parking lot, that will help alleviate the lack of parking in the downtown area and the increase in traffic to the area with new businesses open.

Mayor's Proclamations

Damiano and the council issued two proclamations for October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

"Breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer for women in the United States and the second most common cause of cancer death in women," he stated. "Early awareness and treatment is shown to have significantly reduced the deaths caused by breast cancer. Researchers, scientists and numerous non-profit organizations are dedicated to discovering the cure for breast cancer. During the month of October, we acknowledge the extraordinary commitment invested in this cause."

He also read a proclamation for Domestic Violence Month.

"Domestic violence is a serious crime that affects people of all races, ages, genders, and income levels, and is widespread and affects over 10 million people each year," he said. "One in three Americans have witnessed an incident of domestic violence. Only a coordinated community effort will put a stop to this heinous crime. Domestic Violence Awareness Month provides an excellent opportunity for citizens to learn about ending domestic violence, put forth by the numerous organizations and individuals who provide critical advocacy and services."


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