PLAINFIELD, NJ - An ordinance up for second reading that would adopt a redevelopment plan for the busy section of South Avenue near Terrill Road designated as "in need" passed at Tuesday's Plainfield City Council meeting with a 6-1 vote.
Second Ward Councilman Cory Storch, who voted against it, said, "Plainfield has become business friendly, and is attracting more developers than at any time in the city's recent history. This is a positive reflection on the work of city government, especially in the last five years. Have we reached the point where Plainfield doesn't have to accept every developer, every development proposal, and all requests for tax abatement?"
Storch added, "I believe that time has come for Plainfield. We have positioned the city with more negotiating leverage to have our developers give our residents what they want. In other words, development that is not just for the sake of development."
Storch urged his colleagues to reconsider the ordinance. "It permits the use of retail convenience with fuel services. We have existing retail convenience at the corners of South and Terrill, and South and Leland. Why would we want to add more of the same when for many years, all Plainfield stakeholders have expressed a desire for the South Ave. commercial corridor to increase the variety of shopping experiences for residents and visitors? Why would we permit fuel services in a transit-oriented redevelopment area? Strangely enough, a bank without drive-through facility is a permitted use. It's contradictory."
According to the plan, permitted uses that would "enhance the vitality of South Avenue and the gateway entrance to the City” include a "retail convenience with fuel service."
At an Oct. 9 meeting, Deputy City Administrator for Economic Development Valerie Jackson said, "This is a non-condemnation plan. What that means is that the city will take no action to acquire any properties in the redevelopment area. And that if private property owners elect to sell their property, that's between them and whoever they're dealing with. So there's no action being taken by the city to acquire any properties."
Councilman Storch concluded on Tuesday by saying that there is "much good in the proposed redevelopment plan" for the area, but called for his colleagues to not approve the ordinance, and send the plan back to the Planning Board for revision.
Storch was also the only 'no' vote against salary amendment ordinance MC 2018-27.
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