PLAINFIELD, NJ - Members of Plainfield's Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation Commission and Shade Tree Commission joined Mayor Adrian O. Mapp and members of the public for a special board meeting in City Hall Library on Saturday morning.
Mapp thanked members of the various boards and commissions for their time as positions are all volunteer-based.
Ron Scott Bey, who is Chairman of the Planning Board, then kept the meeting running on schedule. He began by introducing guests from utility providers, who all provided updates on their work in the city.
Michael Bange of New Jersey American Water, who is responsible for 24 towns in addition to Plainfield, said that in 2016 there was a $3.4MM investment in infrastructure.
Sheridan Balmeo of PSE&G reviewed the work that has been done on the Madison Avenue and Plainfield substations, noting that providing more load to the city is a selling point for developers wanting to invest in Plainfield.
Randall Wood of the Housing Authority of Plainfield updated attendees on the successful demolition of almost 3.9 acres at Elmwood Gardens, and the relocation of the affected families.
The status of the Muhlenburg Hospital tract was discussed at length. Carlos Sanchez, the Director of the Office of Economic Development, stated that in 2014, the land was declared an area in need of redevelopment.
City officials met with JFK Health System, the owners of the site, on a monthly basis; consultants were hired and a committee was formed. The city then received six RFPs, and picked Community Healthcare Associates, LLC, or CHA, to develop the site that includes 200K square feet with healthcare components, or what was described as a medical mall with healthcare.
Providers have not yet been identified, but CHA now has site control, and can solicit potential healthcare tenants.
According to its website, "Community Healthcare Associates, LLC (CHA) is a healthcare real estate developer that specializes in re-purposing medical facilities."
Zoning Board member Jim Spear asked if the contract with the new developer and JFK has any deed restrictions. There were four identified:
- No emergency room as there is already one on site
- No dialysis center
- No nursing homes as there is one nearby
- No nursing school as there is one on site.
Mayor Mapp noted that if JFK Health System were to be sold for profit, the restrictions would be lifted.
Shade Tree Commissioner Peter Simone asked if the site was for commercial use only. Sanchez answered that there has to be medical housing-related component, but will not be residential housing.
A consistent theme among the various boards that provided updates was to stress to the public that they are invited and encouraged to attend their monthly meetings.