PLAINFIELD, NJ — Despite hours of expert testimony, the Plainfield Zoning Board of Adjustment’s only two applications required even more Wednesday night, and both were carried to future meetings.

First up was Pontoon Properties, LLC’s proposal to erect a 12-unit apartment building behind an existing one on Park Avenue. The new structure at 300 A Park Avenue would have eight 2-bedroom units and four 1-bedroom units, with eight parking spaces onsite and six more in a city-owned parking lot.

Board Vice-Chairwoman Mary Burgwinkle noted that city lots were coming under scrutiny for redevelopment, and a North Avenue pedestrian mall would also be displacing vehicles in need of parking. The company planned to secure parking permits very soon in a West Fourth Street lot, owner Joe Livingstone said.

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Although the applicant had met with fire officials, the board wanted more information on how response vehicles would negotiate a narrow driveway, and also questioned the lighting plan. Snow would have to be trucked offsite, attorney John P. Wyciskala said.

The board heard testimony from Victor E. Vinegra, serving as both engineer and planner, and from architect Todd Koenig before giving the applicant the choice of returning for more on the unresolved issues. After a break during which the owner and expert witnesses conferred, they agreed to come back for the April 1 meeting.

The second matter involved a use variance to allow tractor-trailer parking at the Injectron site at 1000 South Second Street. Owner Louis Pollak traced the history of the site through many changes and sought permission to allow up to 30 tractor-trailers to park there. Attorney John Sullivan led the presentation by expert witnesses John Chadwick and David Stires, and trucker Sidney Howard made a poignant plea to the board.

“Injectron is the solution for us,” Howard said, explaining that parking there was “keeping us off the (city) streets.” 

Currently, 23 truckers park overnight at the site. Although trucks are supposed to be empty, a full refrigerated truck that kept running all night recently may have triggered complaints from nearby homeowners.

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Howard said the only other choice for truckers might be to drive hours away to find a place to park overnight. As owner-operator of a truck for 21 years, he said the ability to park near his home in Plainfield was “very important.”

Pollak added much lore about the site, and said it had been vandalized early on. He wanted to keep a chain-link fence which could be seen through for surveillance, but the city no longer permits chain-link fence. ZBA Chairman Alejandro Ruiz mentioned alternate fencing as the discussion continued.

Pollak also said trucks had damaged a gate that he wanted to replace, but he had no design to present for it Wednesday.

With unresolved questions still looming, Sullivan and Pollak agreed to return on March 4.

 

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