PLAINFIELD, NJ — In the second brief land use meeting this week in Plainfield, the Planning Board’s only business was a review of a capital project for roadway improvements to St. Mary’s Avenue. A scheduled hearing for a proposed five-story building on South Avenue was moved to April 2 to allow more time for adjustments to the developer’s plans.

Doug Johnson of Remington & Vernick Engineers presented the roadway improvement plans for the entire length of St. Mary’s Avenue. The street lacks curbs and also has older-style inlets that are not compliant with current standards. The improvements include 4- by 3.5-foot metal curb pieces with bicycle-compliant inlets. 

Johnson said Hill Street, which crosses the avenue, has an issue of standing water. The roadway will be milled and new curbs will be installed. A section alongside Saint Mary’s Cemetery will be “left as-is,” Johnson said, “because nobody’s living there.” 

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The improvements have an estimated cost of $505,000, though Johnson said, “Our estimate is not the lowest price,” and a low bidder is anticipated.

Among questions from the board, Billy Toth asked whether recycled material will be used. Johnson said the NJTA (New Jersey Turnpike Authority) sets limits of 50 percent recycled aggregates for the surface course. A contractor could decide to use a “completely virgin mix,” Johnson said.

Toth asked whether recycled plastic could be used, but Johnson said it was not approved by the state Department of Transportation.

Some existing trees will have to be removed, Johnson said, but they will be replaced two for one. He is seeking advice from landscape architect April Stefel of the Planning Division on what tree species are suitable, and expects a recommendation for one type under power lines and a taller one where not restricted by power lines. Plans call for replacing sidewalks where necessary.

The proposed project received unanimous approval from the board.

Asked after the meeting about capital plans in general, Planning Board Chairman Ron Scott Bey said none were made in 2019, but Business Administrator Wayne Clarke was interviewing city directors on their capital needs. Scott Bey said the board would later be able to call for more information from departments, if needed.

The next Planning Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Avenue.