PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield's Zoning Board of Adjustment will hear more testimony tonight on a proposed vets' home in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District as well as New Jersey American Water's plan to replace three truck ports on North Avenue. On Thursday, the Planning Board will review a proposal to build a large early childhood facility in a newly-designated redevelopment area on Plainfield Avenue.
Tonight's meeting is likely to draw a crowd of preservationists and veterans, as well as neighbors of the water company property where asbestos has been found. The meeting is 7:00 p.m. in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. The Planning Board meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, also in City Hall Library.
The Yates House for Military Veterans has already been the subject of two Historic Preservation Commission meetings and one at the Zoning Board. Owner Andre Yates wants to put an addition on the Central Avenue mansion formerly known as Abbott Manor, creating apartments for 25 veterans. Preservationists oppose the application as out of keeping with the historic district, while an increasing number of veterans are attending the hearings to show support for Yates. His attorney, Steven C. Rother, insists that veterans with disabilities are in a protected class that can live in any neighborhood.
The water company needs a Zoning Board use variance for the truck ports and was on the Oct. 4 agenda, but had to cancel when asbestos turned up on the site, according to a local news report. it is unclear how the work began without the variance. The New Jersey Department of Health has a comprehensive Asbestos FAQ page online that includes information on abatement.
Thursday's Planning Board meeting includes the application of 200 Plainfield Avenue LLC to construct a 25,480-square-foot building to house early childhood and after-school services. The project covers three lots that are part of a recently-approved redevelopment plan featuring retail uses at ground level with apartments above. Numerous variances are needed.
According to plans filed in City Hall, the facility would serve 180 children ages 3 to 5 in day care, pre-K and kindergarten. It would be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with 14 classrooms and 34 employees, including 28 teachers, four administrators and two maintenance workers. The site (Block 111, lots 16,17, 18.01) spans Plainfield Avenue between South Second and West Third streets and traffic would enter and exit off the two side streets.
Asked about the need for child care, Plainfield Early Childhood Education Director Evelyn Motley said her department began 17 years ago with 500 children and now serves 1,550, ages 3 and 4. In addition, there are ten child care providers at 17 sites across the city for infants and toddlers.