Zoning Ordinance Withdrawn; New Councilman Sworn in


SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Councilman Llewellyn Jones was sworn in at Tuesday night’s Council meeting by past Governor Donald DiFrancesco, just in time to preside over a “doubleheader” of an Agenda Meeting and Business Meeting held back to back.

When the question was raised as to why the meetings were held on the same night, Mayor Kevin Glover outlined the unique challenges presented by the month of November, which included Election Day and Thanksgiving.  He did concur, however, that perhaps in the future this could be accommodated by the Agenda Meeting being held on a different night, to avoid an overly long meeting.

While various issues were discussed, such as potential changes to leaf pickup and the Mayor’s Gala on Dec. 6, the compelling topic of the evening was the proposed introduction of an ordinance to amend zoning to “Allow Congregate Care Retirement Communities as a Conditional Use in the R-1 Residence Zone.”

Sign Up for E-News

As the Agenda Meeting was not televised, it was decided to hold all discussions for the Business Meeting to ensure those watching at home could hear all sides of the issue.

After a short break, the Business Meeting commenced, and a large number of residents took advantage of the public comment portion of the meeting to make their thoughts known on the proposed development on Terrill Road by the Shelter Group, LLC of a “Congregate Care” facility that would include 240 units of assisted and independent living.

With the exception of one resident, all comments and questions were in the negative in regards to the proposed development. Concerns about streetscape, traffic and surrounding property values were expressed as primary concerns, with several residents implying that the project had been kept from wide public scrutiny.

“A lot of the same questions and concerns have been raised in the past five meetings where this has been discussed,” said Deputy Mayor Colleen Gialanella. “I don’t know how to put out the information any clearer than this. The questions here tonight are raised as if they are new questions, and they have all been asked before.”

Both the mayor and the deputy mayor reiterated how it was never intended that anything be done in secret and previous discussions had all been reported on in the media and listed in the agenda and minutes of previous meetings.

Councilman Bo Vastine was against passing the ordinance for amending R-1 Zoning.  “My problem is this – if we change the zoning for this property we have opened up the whole South side of Scotch Plains to developments like this and that would change the look and feel of Scotch Plains,” Vastine said.

“I don’t think this is the appropriate forum for this application.  I do not think it is in the best interests to make this change to the zoning,” said Councilman Mickey Marcus. He thanked all the residents who had commented and reaffirmed his opinion that the development in question should be addressed by the Planning Board as a variance issue, not as a change to zoning.

However, before the Council could put it to a vote, the lawyer representing the Shelter Group came up to the podium and informed the Council that his client had decided to withdraw their request for the amendment, and that it was obvious that more communication needed to happen with the local community.

Vastine made a motion to remove the item from the agenda that was then passed unanimously.


Tomorrow: Discussion on the Special Improvement District, discussions on leaf pick up and the Mayor’s Gala

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield Family Continues ‘Summer of Kindness’ with Infant Clothing Drive

July 12, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield mom and teacher Sara Liptack is continuing her family’s “Summer of Kindess” with an infant clothing for Furniture Assist, an organization in Springfield that helps formerly homeless people, veterans, the elderly, fire victims, refugees and people fleeing domestic violence.

“I said, ‘What’s the one thing you really ...

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You


Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

What Is Your Bottom Line?

This week's Parshah (Torah reading) is the Parshah of Pinchas the Zealot: the courageous young priest who stood up against idolatry and immorality and, in the end, saved Israel from a devastating plague.

While Pinchas' radical response made him a hero worthy of having a Torah section named after him, we wouldn't necessarily suggest to our children ...

Affordable Housing Hearing In Trenton Needs Your Voice

July 16, 2018

Dear Editor:

Recently Mayor Al Smith of Scotch Plains joined the chorus of ordinary suburban New Jersey voices  who are deeply concerned about NJ overdevelopment in the guise of affordable housing.  Prominent names like Asm. Jon Bramnick, Asw. Holly Schepisi and NJ101.5 radio host Bill Spadea have also expressed concern. 

Unfortunately, I ...

When to Dial 911: Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month

July 10, 2018

There are many times you should call 911. If you or someone around you is in true medical distress, such as experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, bleeding, possible stroke, or any other serious health issues, then 911 should be called as soon as possible. If there are wires down, fire, a crime in progress, or other dangerous conditions to people or property, call 911 ...

Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Encourages Family Fun with Online Fishing Tournament

July 16, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is asking families to cast their lines and reel in some quality time this summer as part of the fourth annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs Online NJ Family Fishing Tournament.

The competition will be held from July 27 to August 5 as a way to encourage families to enjoy a day of fishing, while giving ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

Stage House Tavern, Mountainside

Scotch Plains Fire Department 150th Anniversary ...

Food & Drink Police & Fire


Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

Westfield Presbyterian Church, Westfield

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Health & Wellness


Wed, July 18, 6:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Youth Chess Club at Scotch Plains Public Library

Arts & Entertainment Education