CALDWELL, NJ — Pieces of concrete falling off the ceiling of the municipal parking deck at Provost Square into the parking area below caused the Borough of Caldwell to cordon off the area and close it to parking until officials determine the cause and possible methods of dealing with the problem, according to borough administrator Paul Carelli.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Carelli noted that the borough had spent approximately $125,000 several years ago to deal with problems on the deck, adding that borough engineer Glenn Beckmeyer and a structural engineer would be examining the area to suggest solutions.

The administrator suggested that if the problems persist, the borough should consider studying other communities that have hired private companies to build, supervise and maintain their parking decks.

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Councilman Thomas O’Donnell said he had also heard that some of the I-beams on the deck’s support structure were rusting and that it might be “time to consider replacing the whole thing.” Carelli, however, said the rusting was a minor issue.

With the borough considering revamping its master plan, Mayor Ann Dassing suggested that the borough consider the possibility of working with a developer to provide parking facilities for the borough as part of a new development.

On the master plan revamp, Dassing noted that the planning board last week endorsed reexamination of the master plan, and that Topology, the advisor on the project, would be making presentations on the proposals in the near future.

She said one possible result from the reexamination could include the designation of certain areas in the borough as “in need of redevelopment.” She added that this could lead to developers being offered five-year tax abatements or the ability to utilize PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) for up to 30 years.

In order to avoid possible zoning litigation after the adoption of a revised master plan, borough attorney Greg Mascera suggested that the borough review and revise its zoning ordinances at the same time to conform to any revised master plan.

To read more about this meeting, where experts told members of the council why the borough could lose a large percentage of its ash trees over the next several years, click HERE