PLAINFIELD, NJ – Among the 37 resolutions and 8 ordinances presented at Monday’s agenda setting meeting, one caught the attention of residents who were present to voice their concerns:
- Resolution directing the Planning Board to prepare a redevelopment plan for property identified on Tax Map Sheet 33: 501- 637 South Ave (Block 611, Lot 1) and 520-536 South Ave (Block 612, Lots 5.01 and 8)
Details can be found on the City’s website.
During the public comment period, resident Mary Burgwinkle stated, “In the wake of the WAWA fiasco, I will worry every time I see a request like this that some developer wants to build something and you plan to let them do it regardless of whether it is appropriate for the area. This is very shortsighted and you should decide what is good for Plainfield for a particular area prior to looking for a developer. You should expect a lot of citizen pushback if this is another unfortunate project.”
Burgwinkle later added, “We strongly believe that if you are doing an area in need of development the public is entitled to know before any more money is spent on it. It has been heavily studied and it is a critical area of Plainfield. We don’t want to be surprised by who the developer is and what is being built.”
Burgwinkle also mentioned a Bond ordinance for $500,000 to be spent on the Unitarian Church for a cultural center while the Library’s budget is being cut. City should not take properties from any non-profit without full disclosure of the costs. Based on recommendations made by the CBAC, the Library’s request for $45K was restored to the budget at the agenda fixing session.
Resident Jim Spear started with the history of a planning study conducted years ago by NJIT graduate students to provide a smart growth plan around the train stations. The process included several charrettes throughout the city to gain input from residents. Although Spear agreed that the area is in need of redevelopment (Leland and South Ave encompassing Burger King and The Fig Market) he also stated, “The plan was 100 percent approved by the council and the Planning Board and is now being torn apart because we are lowering the bar and allowing developers to do what they want. This redevelopment plan, let there be transparency in it and let the residents know what is being proposed.”
Details regarding the NJIT study can be found here:
In response, Economic Development Director, Valerie Jackson commented that the Master Plan is the vision document for the City of Plainfield and is required by the state to be updated every ten years. They are currently in the process of selecting a team to manage the process and several public sessions will be scheduled.
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be held on Monday, May 13th at the Municipal Court Council Chambers located at 325 Watchung Ave at 7:00 pm.