MVA: Village Welfare, or Window Dressings?

[this page under development.  Last update:  Jan 9, 2017]

The role and authority of the Maplewood Village Alliance, which is organized under Township ordinance, has been a matter of disputed interpretation over the years when it comes to development.  The issue has been discussed at length in the past (in connection with the Station House development at the old Police Station site, regarding demolition of buildings within the Alliance area, and most recently regarding Clarus Maplewood design features and ancillary issues such as parking, dumpsters, loading docks and grease traps).

[ The Village Alliance Board is selected by the Township and sitting members, and includes residents, merchants, property owners and other members of the community.   The volunteer Board oversees many issues of interest and pleasure to all of us related to maintaining and improving the Village.  While the Alliance’s role in development matters is being discussed here, we want to stress at the outset that the discussion is one of process and scope, and not a criticism of the Board itself.]

[historical details to be added]

In the most recent matter, regarding a grease trap and dumpsters request by developer, the Alliance made two submissions to the Planning Board with its input:



These are worth looking at closely.   In the October letter the Village Alliance states strong opposition to the developer proposal and requests that all waste handling be done indoors, in the expansive garage area.

In the November letter, the MVA reports that it has “agreed to move this plan forward to Planning Board”.

Why the change?   It’s because the MVA Board members were instructed that the MVA had no authority to deny the placement of the dumpsters in the public parking lot because that area was part of the Redevelopment Area.   The scope of their authority could only extend to aesthetic issues and issues related to the use of the dumpsters.

The current interpretation of the law is that the Redevelopment Plan, managed by the Township Committee at its sole discretion, supersedes existing zoning and the Maplewood Village Alliance formative ordinance.

Demands that the dumpster proposal be improved are best directed to the Township Committee in their role as “development entity” of the former Post Office site.  The authority to enforce the Redevelopment Plan and negotiate with the developer and the restaurateur lies entirely with the Township Committee.

∫  ∫  ∫

This site chronicles the five year public process leading to the construction of Clarus Maplewood.   We recently re-arranged it to provide easier access chronologically and by topic area.  Check out the changes here or use our tag cloud and search features.