Plainfield’s Dudley House To Become Vet Home

Dudley House Capital Review Approved by the Plainfield Planning Board Credits: Screenshot from Google Maps

PLAINFIELD, NJ - A city-owned Plainfield building that formerly housed men in recovery from substance abuse is now slated to become a transitional home for veterans.

The City Council will vote Monday on a resolution to award a $54,000 contract to Pennoni Associates Inc. to oversee renovations to the former Dudley House on Putnam Avenue. Funded in part by a New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Shelter Support Grant of $398,080, the total estimated cost of the project is $437,888. The balance will come from city capital funds.

Renovations will include all new electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems, as well as ADA accessibility. Exterior changes must be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission for compliance with design guidelines. Space for temporary housing of up to 18 occupants will be created, with completion anticipated by June 2018.

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As described in the proposal, “renovations to the existing building will create space for approximately 18 occupants to be housed, as well as space for two full-time supervisors. The first floor will contain a noncommercial kitchen for unsupervised meal preparation, a dining area, a living area, a manager’s desk, ADA accessible bathroom, ADA bedroom, and storage. Each upper floor of the building will have an accessible bathroom, sleeping rooms and access to the fire escape. The basement space will be renovated to accommodate the laundry and a meeting space as well as the mechanical spaces for the building.”

The program will be managed by HomeFirst, an agency that addresses homelessness. Veterans are deemed especially susceptible to becoming homeless.

The resolution will be up for a vote at the Feb. 12 City Council meeting, 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Avenue.

Another proposed vet facility has been under review by the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Historic Preservation Commission for several months and is on the ZBA agenda for Wednesday (Feb. 7, 7 p.m. in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave.)

At the Jan 23 HPC meeting, attorney Stephen Rother refused to agree to a further waiver of the “45-day rule,” a limit to conclude the case. His refusal forced the HPC to vote. The commissioners then voted unanimously to deny the use of the former Abbott Manor on Central Avenue for a veterans’ home, sending the matter back to the Zoning Board.

MORE:  Plainfield HPC Recommends Denial of Vet Home

Rother and HPC Chairman William Michelson strongly disagree over whether the HPC can rule on the use. The HPC can issue a certificate of appropriateness for exterior design changes, but Michelson has insisted the commission can also rule on the use and gave a half-hour recitation of his reasons on Jan. 23, despite Rother’s stand that the HPC has no jurisdiction.

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