PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield’s City Council resumed its regular format of holding a separate agenda setting meeting in advance of the business one, this month scheduled for Monday, September 9. A welcome change at Tuesday's meeting was the addition of a discussion session that tackled two items: deer management and outdoor displays of retail merchandise.
On deer, Shep Brown, Director of Health and Social Services, stated that both Mayor Adrian Mapp and the administration do not support any killing and hunting of deer. According to Brown, the department plans to develop a public education and outreach plan for residents to address issues like lyme disease, and to reduce environmental factors that might attract deer.
In anticipation of the deer management agenda item, a few residents from the Plainfield Animal Initiative, including Marie Ansari, a 33-year resident, addressed the council. Ansari expressed appreciation for the mayor’s position; she noted that the committee had worked extensively on public education and created a brochure to address several similar issues. The Plainfield Animal Initiative will be on hand at the upcoming PMUA Environmental Fair on Saturday, September 7, with additional information.
Last season’s deer kill program was administered through Union County and not the City of Plainfield. Corporation Counsel David Minchello clarified that there was no proposal for additional deer kills on the table to be considered by the council. The deer kill program, it was noted, was not as successful as anticipated, and resulted in public outcry in Plainfield.
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Resident Lyle Kamenir suggested the State’s deer contraception program that is currently being developed should be explored more, and offered to do additional research to determine the feasibility of implementing a pilot program in Plainfield. Despite the high costs associated with the contraceptive program, Councilman Storch suggested that the administration conduct additional research as well as consult unbiased experts to consider as many non-lethal options as possible and not be driven by only by public opinion.
The outdoor display of retail merchandise, particularly in the downtown area, was another topic of discussion. Minchello mentioned that some retailers incorrectly believe that they are allowed a 3-foot allowance where items can be displayed. Current code provides restrictions, and the administration plans to provide written notices to businesses prior to a more aggressive enforcement.
Four-way stop signs recently implemented in several neighborhoods across the city, and their overall effectiveness in reducing accidents, along with an overall increase in speeding, drew concerns from several residents. Police Chief Lisa Burgess will provide a presentation on accident statistics to the council at a future meeting.
A resolution under the Department of Health and Social Services to enter into an agreement with the Neighborhood Health Services Corporation for an amount of $25,000 was also moved to the agenda. Brown explained that NHSC provides a physician dedicated to the city to perform minor medical services such as routine vaccinations and exams. Currently NHSC is in bankruptcy and, according to Brown, it would be a public health crisis if the facility ceased to operate.
The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be held on Monday, September 9 in Municipal Court, located at 325 Watchung Avenue, at 7 p.m.
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