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Maplewood Township Committee Meeting: Update On Avalon Apartments, Leaf Blower Ban Debate

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ - During the meeting on Feb. 21, the Maplewood Township committee assured residents that construction will continue at the Avalon apartments, which had a major fire earlier this month, with strict safety supervision.

Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca told attendees that while the cause of the fire at the Avalon apartments is still unknown, propane and other flammable heat sources were being used on site. He assured the crowd that this will not be allowed moving forward, and that firewatch supervisors will be stationed on site during all construction hours.

“We just want to be sure the structure is sound before moving forward,” said De Luca. “Sometime around March we should see the framing going back up on the upper stories.”

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Following his proposal at the last meeting, Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino again made requests for the township committee to allot him a third police captain on the force. While final passage for the request is scheduled on March 7, a roll call after the proposal indicated a disapproving majority that will likely cause the ordinance to fail.

“Once you put something like this in place, it becomes difficult to to remove it in the future,” said Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams. “I also have concerns about the longstanding repercussions on our annual budget.”

Some 60 landscaping professionals attended the meeting to voice their dissent for a town-wide ban on all gas leaf blowers, and an electric blower ban between May 15 and Oct. 15 annually. Many presentations cited both the physical and financial implications of the ban, but several members of the township committee voiced strong support for the restrictions.

“We don’t have a perfect solution, but unless we’re presented with specific changes or suggestions we’re going to proceed with what we have,” said committee member Greg Lembrich.

“If it we’re up to me, I’d ban them all,” joked Adams.

The Maplewood Township Committee will meet again on Tuesday, March 7.

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