[this post superseded by newer ones and this page.]
The Redevelopment Plan for the former Village Post Office site set a goal to improve and feature the pedestrian experience walking from Maplewood Village to Memorial Park via the Village Coffee parking lot tunnel. The new design was to provide a “gateway” experience and improve the views (sight lines) so as to better connect the Village, the train station, and Memorial Park. The parking lot and the pedestrian path way is shown below:
In connection with the restuarant planned for the site, the developer and Mayor have proposed changes that would provide for the waste disposal and grease management required by restuarants. The proposed changes are shown in the following diagram:
In order to implement these changes, the Township Committee voted (4 in favor, 1 opposed) to allow an easement in the Village Coffee parking lot (public land) to allow a box to be built to hold six dumpsters. The plan raises a number of concerns as highlighted in the figure above, including:
- Twelve parking spaces would be narrowed, requiring a waiver from Planning Board. Narrower spaces can lead to more dented doors, move difficulty entering and leaving spots, and more difficulty entering and leaving vehicles. Management of children and groceries in particular would be more awkward. Mini-vans and SUVs would be a tight fit.
- The sidewalk at Maplewood Avenue would get narrower, and the foliage that partially blocked view of the parked cars is no longer shown.
- The grease interceptor, located next the the pedestrian pathway (underground) raises the potential for the area to become soiled with grease stains over time. Maintenance of the interceptor (“grease trap”) also requires service by a grease recovery truck that periodically cleans the underground device.
- The six trash containers are in plain view of both pedestrian pathways. The are adjacent to the southerly pathway, with allowing pedestrians to look down from the higher path into the trash container area. The potential for smells, flies, and other vermin is high.
- Bicycle racks located in this area are an impediment to free pedestrian flow.
The Planning Board is hearing this application Thursday, October 13th at 8 pm in Town Hall. While the Township Committee has approved the easement, it is contingent on Planning Board approval of the details. The Maplewood Village Alliance has written to the applicant and the Planning Board indicating that it does not support the proposal as currently written.
Please attend the meeting if you are concerned by these proposed changes and would like to see alternatives. You may also send email to the Township Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Maplewood Village Alliance (email@example.com) to share your thoughts.