PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield’s Planning Board granted approval Thursday for a mixed-use development on South Avenue, adding 70 more apartments near the Netherwood train station.

Planning expert Jerome Eben hailed the project as part of Plainfield’s “resurgence,” saying, “Plainfield is in what we would call an urban transformation.”

The applicant, 829 South, LLC, appeared before the board on Jan. 18 and returned to address board concerns including parking and a requirement that a fourth floor be set back from those below. Retail customers will be able to park in the Family Dollar lot next door and balconies will create the top floor setback. Testimony from architect Frederick Kincaid, owners’ representative Richard Dunn and Eben satisfied all outstanding issues and the board voted unanimously to give preliminary and final site plan approval for the proposal.

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The site is in the Transit-Oriented Development Netherwood (TOD-N) South Avenue Redevelopment Planpdf and although it requires a restaurant as 10 percent of the commercial portion, the board did not press for it Thursday. Only 4,200 square feet on the ground floor is allotted for commercial uses and there would not be sufficient space for a restaurant, Eben said. The developer wants office uses such as a tax preparer, and among several family anecdotes Eben said his son in California enjoys having a tax office right in the building where he lives.

As described on Jan. 18, a second-floor terrace will be accessible to all tenants, and Eben said family members with a similar gathering place found it led to “new friendships.”

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As in other municipalities along the Raritan Valley Line, apartments are springing up around the train station, including Plainfield’s biggest new complex with 212 units. At the same time, commuters are demanding better service from NJ Transit, and newly elected Governor Phil Murphy is making that a priority of his administration.

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