PLAINFIELD, NJ -  Plainfield City Council members met for the August combined agenda session to discuss and vote on a total of 22 resolutions and 4 ordinances. Two notable appointments on the agenda were Wayne Clarke as the new Business Administrator and Kenneth Childress as the Fire Director. A third appointment was that of Lieutenant Taheem Muslim as the new Plainfield Fire official for the City.

Wayne R. Clarke was sworn in as the city's Business Administrator, replacing Carlos Sanchez, who resigned a few weeks ago. A resolution was also passed granting severance pay to Sanchez despite Councilwoman Ashley Davis' opposition to both votes for Clarke and Sanchez. Resident Timothy Priano also questioned the transparency of the resolution during the public comment period.

Two resolutions presented by the Economic Development department drew considerable discussion and public comment. Related resolutions 269-19 and 270-19 called for the rescinding and replacing of prior resolutions that authorized the Planning Board to determine if the areas met the criteria to be designated as “non-condemnation” or “condemnation” redevelopment areas.

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Valerie Jackson, Economic Development Director, explained that the area included over 120 properties and the study would propose the separation of the properties so that the Council would have the authority to condemn, if necessary, in order to facilitate development of smaller parcels into larger projects in the downtown area and to help the prospective developers assemble the parcels.

The YMCA located at 518 Watchung Ave is currently a part of the area being considered in the study. Jackson stated that given her knowledge of the current owner of the YMCA, having the ability to condemn would be a useful tool for the City. Later in public comment, Nancy Piwowar, mentioned that YMCA is a part of the National Register of Historic Places and it would be extremely costly to the city if condemnation was pursued.

More on the YMCA on the National Register of Historic Places

With respect to affected residents, the current housing statue calls for displaced residents to be relocated by the developers. Jackson stated that the overall vision for the area is to be a transit-oriented site and with that comes increased density. The proposed redevelopment plan will recommend the density and specific numbers of units for the parcels of land.

On Wednesday, August 14th, a Community Meeting will be held at the Plainfield High School to discuss the purpose of the City’s Master Plan and timeline for updating the plan.

Recent tax increases was also another area of concern. Bernice Jones, a resident of Plainfield for 50 years voiced concern that the city has succeeded on becoming one with no seniors and she is unable to keep up with the tax increases.   

The next city council meeting will be held on September 9th at the Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Avenue, at 7 p.m. 

 

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