The Conversation is Ballooning In Maplewood
The OhNo60 project began as an engineering study to help the general public visualize the scale and massing of the proposed redevelopment of the Post Office site in Maplewood Village. Planning for the redevelopment had been underway for a many years, but there had been no visual images available to assess the permitted structure(s) from multiple vantage points in and around Maplewood Village.
The study used 36″ helium balloons, raised to precise elevations, to demarcate the key proportions (“bulk”, “massing”, and “scale”) that are allowed by the newly enacted zoning regulations. This approach provides one means of visualizing a new structure within its proposed environment, and allows overlays to be accurately done using photographs from various angles around the structure.
The study was prompted by an ordinance introduced by the Maplewood Township Committee to increase the building height by 18%, increase the size of upper floors, and introduce new architectural features. The changes were requested by JMF Properties, even before their proposal had been submitted for public review. The Township Committee was originally scheduled to vote on the ordinance Tuesday, January 2o, 2015 but eventually withdrew the intended changes in the face of public and Planning Board concerns.
The OhNo60 engineering study continued through 2015 as design changes were made to the proposal. The team extended their efforts to studies of the existing structure, marketing and real estate information, Township studies including the defective sewer system, tax ratables and other topics. By Spring 2015 it became clear to team members that the proposed structure and financial terms were not favorable to the Township or the Village. At that point the team began sharing this detailed information and advocating that the project goals be re-evaluated.
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OhNo60 is sponsored by Engage Maplewood. Further links t0 the early efforts of Engage Maplewood can be found in the planning section of our project timeline.